Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has described as a “gross betrayal,” the flooding of the streets of Lagos with armed soldiers.  

In a strong statement just released, he asked:  “Was it part of the deal reached by the government of Goodluck Jonathan, Labour Movement and Civil Society, that soldiers would be sent to occupy Lagos and intimidate the populace?”

He described the action as a gross violation of the rights of citizens to congregate and give expression to whatever grievances bedevil their existence.

“Until [the soldiers] are removed, Nigerians as a whole should understand that the present civic action is not over and prepare to mobilize and defend their liberty,” he said, calling the summoning of armed troops to the streets to confront unarmed civilians an intolerable act of provocation that has taken underhand advantage of the willingness of the people to negotiate and give the government a breathing space.

Stressed Professor Soyinka, “Lagos is no hotbed of BOKO HARAM, nor is it the state of this very incumbent president where leaders and comrades for whom we have the deepest respect, and with whom we still share common cause, have called openly for secession of their part of the nation and called upon others to join them. Lagos is not where heavily armed vigilantes have taken over oil wells.

Clearly these forms of freedom of expression, even of the armed kind, are in order, since Goodluck Jonathan has not seen it as the duty of his office to invade such territories. The occupation of Lagos does no credit to this regime and must be reversed. The kindest that can be said of it is that it is an aberration produced by too many long hours of negotiation, resulting in an unclear and befogged mind.”

 

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