Soyinka to FG: Save Nigeria further global embarrassment, release Sowore
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called on the Federal Government to release pro-democracy activist Omoyele Sowore, and save the country from further global embarrassment.
This was just as he condemned the use of live bullets to disperse protesters calling for the release of Sowore, currently detained at Directorate of State Service (DSS) headquarters in Abuja.
Sowore’s arrest and detention have been greeted with public outcry, both locally and publicly, as members of the Concerned Nigerian and the Enough is Enough, who protested the refusal by the DSS to release him after meeting bail condition were on Tuesday assaulted by the operatives of the department.
A journalist with The Guardian and Yemi Adamolekun of EiE were equally brutalized alongside the protesters, who gathered at the DSS Abuja head office to express their displeasure.
Soyinka made this call, on Wednesday, in a statement made available to newsmen, declaring a full stop to what he termed a charade and a display of crude and naked power by the DSS who he demanded should not only apologize to the whole country but equally the judiciary.
According to him, doing so would go “some distance” in redeeming the image of the agency which he said was becoming “increasingly fascistic” as well as reduce the swelling tide of public disillusionment in the country.
“Enough of this charade, nothing more than a display of crude, naked power. Release Omoyele Sowore and save us further embarrassment in the regard of the world.
“An apology to the nation by the DSS and the judiciary would also not be out of place. It would go some distance in redeeming the image of an increasingly fascistic agency and reduce the swelling tide of public disillusionment,” Soyinka said.
The Nobel Laureate, while commending the determined efforts of ‘Concerned Nigerians’ in defence of people’s rights, charged civil society organizations in the country, committed to the entrenchment of the rule of law and the defence of fundamental human rights to come together, saying it had become abundantly clear to do this, even as he declared that this was no longer a “new cry.”
“They must meet, debate, and embark on a binding pact of tactical responses whenever these two pillars of civilized society are besieged by the demolition engines of state security agencies,” he said, lamenting that the uncoordinated and sporadic responses, among others as was in Sowore’s case had continue to enable agencies of the government in the country to enthrone a pattern of conduct that openly scoffed at the role of the judiciary in national life.
“The sporadic, uncoordinated responses as in the case of Omoyele Sowore, the absence of a solid strategy, ready to be activated against any threat — these continue to enable these agencies in their mission to enthrone a pattern of conduct that openly scoffs at the role of the judiciary in national life. Result? A steady entrenchment of the cult of impunity in the dealings of state with the citizenry – both individuals and organizations. The level of arrogance has crossed even the most permissive thresholds.
“It is heart-warming to witness the determined efforts of ‘Concerned Nigerians’ in defence of these rights. Predictably, the ham-fisted response of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) continues to defy the rulings of the court. The weaponry of lies having been exploded in their faces, they resort to what else? Violence! Violence, including, as now reported, the firing of live bullets. Why the desperation? The answer is straightforward: the government never imagined that the bail conditions for Sowore would ever be met.
“Even Sowore’s supporters despaired. The bail test was clearly set to fail! It took a while for the projection to be reversed, and it left the DSS floundering. That agency then resorted to childish, cynical lies. It claimed that the ordered release was no longer in their hands, but in Sowore’s end of the transfer. The lie being exploded, what next? Bullets of course!” Soyinka said.
The Nobel Laureate described the development occasioned by the DSS as not only callous and inhuman but also criminal, saying it escalated an already untenable defiance by the state, adding that it was an act of government insecurity and paranoia that merely defeats its real purpose.
While decrying the wielding of guns against the citizens for demanding their rights, Soyinka said such was no longer comical.
He said it was necessary to remind the Federal Government of precedents in other lands where, even years after the event, those who trampled on established human rights that generated homicidal impunity were called to account for abuse of power and crimes against humanity.
He declared that the protests for Sowore’s release went beyond only acts of solidarity, but were manifestations of the judgment and authority of courts of law, under which this nation was supposedly governed.
“Either it is, or it isn’t. The answer stares us all in the face. The principles that now fall under threat implicate more than one individual under travail. They involve the very entitlement of a nation to lay claim to membership of any democratic, humanized union,” he said.
“Let the rule of law reign. Failing that, have the honesty to proclaim the death of ordered society. Then we’ll all know just where we stand,” the Nobel Laureate declared.