Soyinka makes demands at launch of his latest collection of poems
As celebrations continued for his 89th birthday, Professor 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.
Soyinka, while speaking during a public reading session of his latest collection, Wole Soyinka: Selected Poems (1965-2022): A Retrospective, published by Bookcraft Africa, in Lagos, called on all security agencies in the country, from the president to the lowest individual, to address three key demands.
The first is for security officials to reopen unresolved cases of religious killings and prosecute the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings. Soyinka highlighted the case of Deborah Samuel, a second-year student who was killed in Sokoto State over allegations of blasphemy. He urged that the files be opened on all those who have killed extrajudicially in the name of religion.
Soyinka’s second demand was directed at the international community and members of the diplomatic community. He stated that it is not enough for the international community to place travel restrictions on perpetrators of electoral violence in the upcoming general elections. He called for visa bans to be extended to religious bigots.
Lastly, Soyinka expressed his concern over the neglect faced by traditionalists in the country. He demanded equal recognition and rights for traditional religions and called for an annual public holiday to be designated for traditionalists, similar to the holidays observed by Islam and Christianity.
The renowned playwright emphasised that these demands are aimed at addressing the issues of religious killings, electoral violence, and the neglect of traditional religions in Nigeria. He urged the government and international community to take action and ensure justice and equality for all citizens.
The Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) BookTrek No 6, 2023 event co-hosted by Bookcraft Africa and supported by ProvidusBank took place at the bank’s Corporate Office Rooftop Lounge on Adeola Odeku Street, Victoria Island. was attended by dignitaries including former Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Lagos, Duro Oni.