Decree 4 Has No Place In A Democracy –Soyinka


Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, during an interactive session in Lagos with journalists titled “Sanctions on the loose: Chasing the gnat with a sledgehammer,” speaks on the state of the nation, secession calls in some quarters, among other issues. 

National Broadcasting Commission’s query to Channels TV

Who decides professionalism and sound judgement in the media? Is the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) a Mass Communication forum? Is it judging people’s papers?

Is it setting examinations to show who didn’t show sound judgment? Who is the impartial arbiter? Who is the expert that decides things like that? This is one of most outstanding semi-literate kind of official query letter I have ever seen.

I wish to exhort the media that whenever they get letters like this, I know you have your commissions, board of trustees who tell you what to do, but whatever possible, if only symbolically, just throw it into the garbage where it belongs.

We must also tell the government that if any media institution is sanctioned on this kind of trivial and absolute ludicrous grounds, we would fulfill our responsibility by mobilizing the nation to boycott all government media, whether television or radio, and we shall embark on that campaign if it becomes necessary and we shall wage this media war against the government.

Decree No 4 has no place in a democracy and it is about time we emphasise that and manifest that both in language and in act.

Sunday Igboho’s detention in Benin Republic

The Federal Government’s role in one of the agitators, who is against criminal Fulani herdsmen tyranny conduct and only by the way also agitating for sectional national sovereignty, is condemnable. His real crime is that he threw out criminal Fulani herdsmen who have been terrorizing his neigbourhood.

I refused to accept that Igboho is being chased because he peacefully demonstrated his position vis-à-vis the destiny of this nation, which is a fundamental right of anybody.

If somebody calls for secession, calls for a separate state, I don’t consider that and nowhere is that to be declared a criminal act. As long as it is done peacefully, collectively within the law, you don’t have to criminalise that action.

You don’t criminalise the action and in addition commit a criminal act against such an individual.

That was what the security services did by raiding Igboho’s home at 2.am, killing two of his people and claiming, without a warrant or anything that they found weapons in his house. Who is going to believe that cock and bull story?

This is an appeal to the government of the Republic of Benin, why are you keeping this victim in your prison? What crime did he commit against your state that you are holding him in prison instead of just letting him continue his journey?

Igboho has not committed any crime against any known law in this nation and to ask for his repatriation is just adding salt to injury. You invaded a man’s house, destroyed his property, chased him to wilderness and then you pursue him next door.

So, we are asking the government of Benin Republic to release this young man and let him go about his business which was intercepted unjustly.

President Buhari’s son’s wedding in Kano

There was a carnival of a wedding in Kano; the president’s child was getting married.

But some school children are kidnapped. All I saw is a carnival with the record number of private jets in Kano that day. I am not saying the President’s children should not get married; on the contrary, I want them not to only get married but blessed with kids and prosperity.

We should not have seen the kind of carnival that took place there, especially, in that part of the country at this particular time.

This is not what in understand as leadership. Perhaps, it is the noise of the wedding bells that has contributed to the deafening or possible impairment of the hearing of the President of this nation. Because the President doesn’t seems to hear things.

Grazing routes

The whole nation is screaming that we don’t want any open cattle grazing, whether they go by the name of cattle routes or reserves.

Right round the entire nation, we had opinions surmounting the antiquated mode of cattle rearing. Even the all-powerful, untouchable Miyetti Allah, patrons of the murderous Fulani herdsmen have gone on record to say that ranching is the way to go.

When we think all that debate has been settled in rational terms, along comes a new version, rather like Decree 4, the new version of RUGA, with the President insisting on sending his agents out to map out and recover the old grazing routes.

So, what is the President’s obsessing about something that is being rejected left and centre? The obsession is on such a level that even people who considered themselves rational like myself, begin to wonder whether this is really about cattle.

Whether there is some kind of agenda that we don’t really know about. Because as we say in Yoruba (eleyikojaojulasan). It is like something, a kind of mental delusion about it.

The obsession is to the extent that people who are rational begin to wonder if it is all about cattle or there is an agenda we don’t know about.

Conspiracy theories abound when the leadership is pursuing interest against the people. Is this to stir up trouble or what? Is that how a President is supposed to behave and act in a way which pops out violence as a consequence of your former action? Is that really governance? Is that really leadership?

Insecurity and violence

Daily killings have become a feature of existence, school pupils kidnap has become a new normal. Up till now, we have been saying, Ask for help, this thing is beyond you.

The failures started a long time ago, nobody is saying it is you who started it, but of course, your failure and incompetence has also escalated it like every other leaders we have had. We now say, it is an issue which can be taken legally as an international responsibility.

UN Charter on Genocide, Child Kidnap

What is happening now has become an international responsibility. The international community is really obliged to take action since there is failure on the part of governance to fulfill its obligations under the UN Charter, in this  case, genocide.

Among the actions that qualify as genocide are: One, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; two, deliberate inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part, and finally forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. So, where are the Chibok girls?

Where are the pupils of the Ahmadiyya School? Where are the pupils of the Bethel Baptist School?

So, what is happening? How do we describe the targeting of children? A brisk and very successful slave trade is going on, with markets springing all over the place.

Very soon, Nigeria will be quoting slaves on the stock market. I can’t see any difference between slavery and what is happening to school pupils today. We are calling on the United Nations to intervene and stop the slave trade.

To live up to its noble intentions and declarations, rescue these children and put a stop. And if Nigeria continues to stand on her sovereignty, I think the protocols, I leave this to the experts,

I speak as a layman. I think the protocols enable that organasation (UN) to do a Namibia, in other words, to declare sections of this country as protectorates under the UN. Why not?

If the government has failed to protect its own people, failed to fulfill its responsibilities under protocols to which it is signatory, the UN has a right and a responsibility to declare those zones UN protectorate. It is not a question of begging; it has become an international responsibility. 

The international community is duly obliged to take action since there is failure on the part of governance to fulfill its obligation under United Nations Charter to which Nigeria is a signatory.

What I am saying to you publicly is what we have been discussing with some foreign heads of states because we want this situation tabled.

We do not want what we are undergoing now to become the new normal peculiar to the Nigerian nation. We want intervention at this stage.

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