April 20, 2024 4:50 am
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Soyinka Demands Justice for Victims of Religious Killings, Pushes for Visa Ban on Bigots

Against the backdrop of his 89th birthday celebrations, Prof Wole Soyinka on Sunday made three demands of the Federal Government, including that security agencies reopen unresolved cases of religious killings and a public holiday be created for traditionalists.

Renowned playwright and Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, used his 89th birthday as a platform to raise three important demands to the Nigerian government. His requests targeted security agencies and aimed to address unresolved cases of religious killings. In addition, Soyinka called for the establishment of a public holiday specifically dedicated to traditionalists. This move was an appeal directed at all levels of governance, from the President to each individual citizen. Soyinka expressed his concern over the failure to prosecute those responsible for extrajudicial killings in Nigeria.

  1. Reopening unresolved cases of religious killings
  2. The Nobel laureate highlighted the need for security agencies to open the files of unresolved cases of religious killings. Soyinka stressed that this step is essential in holding those involved accountable for their actions. He began with the tragic case of Deborah Samuel, a second-year student at the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State. Samuel was senselessly killed on May 12, 2022, under the false accusation of blasphemy. Soyinka urged authorities to thoroughly investigate the individuals responsible for extrajudicial killings committed in the name of religion.

  3. Extending visa bans to religious bigots
  4. Recognizing the role of the international community in promoting peace and stability, Soyinka called on members of the diplomatic community to take a stand against electoral violence. Specifically, he urged for visa bans to be imposed on religious fanatics who incite or engage in violence during the upcoming 2023 general elections. Soyinka expressed his belief that travel restrictions alone are insufficient and that stronger measures, such as visa bans, must be employed to deter those who exploit religion for political gain.

  5. Creating a public holiday for traditionalists
  6. Soyinka drew attention to the neglected status of traditional religions in Nigeria. He emphasized the need for equal treatment and recognition. Calling for an annual public holiday equivalent to those enjoyed by Islam and Christianity, Soyinka demanded that the voices and practices of traditionalists be acknowledged by state governments, local governments, and the Federal Government. This would serve as a symbolic step towards ending the discrimination faced by traditionalists and establishing their rightful place in Nigerian society.

Prof Wole Soyinka’s birthday served as a meaningful occasion to voice these demands, which seek to address critical issues pertaining to justice, equality, and religious freedom in Nigeria.

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