Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has called on all the security agencies to open files of all those all those involved in extrajudicial killings.
He noted that time again, these files disappear, stressing the need for religious tolerance in the country.
He also called on the international community to extend the visa denial to religious bigots, those who preach and who applaud violence in the name of religion.
The renowned scholar and human rights activist who stated this on Saturday at the presentation of his latest collection of work: Wole Soyinka: Selected Poems (1965-2022: A Retrospective), held at the Rooftop Lounge of Providus Bank on Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island, Lagos, decried the level of religios intolerance in the country, adding that preachers and promoters of religion intolerance to be brought to book.
“I am using our collective presence and creative energy in this place to make three requests.
I want all security agencies in this country, and all those in governance to open the case files of all those who were killed as a result of intolerance.
I don’t care whether they were said to have abused this or that, they have been involved in extrajudicial killing. And time again, these files disappear. The students who butchered Debora Samuel, who killed her in the presence of armed police, and who were later were arrested had been released. And we say we are living in a civilised society where people like Zulu Gabari can insist that those who happen not to believe his own pathway, our own traditional ways of worshipping any deity of our own chosen. If you don’t believe in those deities that is your problem.
Nobody has disturbed you; nobody had said come to you said, ‘you must come and join us.’ Some people say they believe in giving honour to the goddess ‘osun’, and they have a festival called ‘Isese’ and they want to celebrate that festival.
What is your godam business to prevent them simply because you’re sitting in authority. And yet they get away with it time and time again.
I think it’s about time to speak truth to one another. It’s about time that we move into proactivity rather than reacting when insults had been heaped on dead, when we have been insulted and desicrated.
“Extend visa denial to religious bigots, extend the visa ban to those who preach and who applaud violence in the name of religion,” he said.
Soyinka also called for an annual public holiday for traditional religion worshipers.
“It’s about time we demanded on behalf of traditional religions worshippers annual holiday like Islam and Christianity. We’ve had enough of being second class citizens in this nation. We want an annual public boliday.”
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