Although it has given a go-ahead for the protest to continue, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has criticized the Nigerian Police Force for trying to stop a Feb 6th-proposed anti-government protest in Abuja and Lagos.
Said Soyinka on Sunday,
“The police attempt to reverse the hands of the democratic clock is even more appalling at a time when open demonstrations are taking place all over the world against the policies of a recently elected President of the United States, (Donald Trump), whose democratic formula allegedly serves as Nigeria’s adopted model. Across numerous states of that federated nation, ongoing at this very moment, is the public expression of rejection of a President’s policy that has also pitted the executive against the judiciary. We have heard of no preventive action by the police, or arrests of demonstrators.
“Again and again, efforts, both under military and civilian orders have been made to stifle the rights to freedom of expression by Nigerian governments – Buhari, Babangida, Obasanjo, Abacha, Jonathan….and now again, Buhari? These efforts have been, and will always be resisted. It is a moral issue, as old as settled humanity. It has been settled in other parts of the world. Nigeria cannot be an exception, not as long as her citizens refuse to accept the designation of second, even third-rate citizens.
“I hope that, even at this eleventh hour, legality and the democratic imperative will prevail. Finally, I shall be less than honest if I do not add the following, mostly directed as a warning to the very polity on whose behalf the democratic war is joined, again and again:
“Minus a minuscule but highly voluble minority, mostly of pitiably retarded polluters of the common zones of public interventions, I do not know of any citizens of civilised community who do not subscribe to the fundamental Right of the Freedom of Expression in any form, as long as it is peaceful, and non-injurious to humanity.
“I would hate to conclude that the security agencies, or the government they serve, at this stage of national development and recent history, would choose to align themselves with such an unteachable minority.”