Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, on Sunday berated the police for attempting to stifle the planned nationwide protest slated for Monday against the policies of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, which are causing hardship to the people.
He advised the police not do anything that would abridge the right of Nigerians to embark on the planned nationwide protest, describing the attempt by the police “as a huge disappointment,a disservice to the cause of democracy”.
Hip-pop artiste, Innocent Idibia, also known as Tuface, who was at the vanguard of the protest, had called off the rally on Saturday citing “security challenges”
But in a statement issued on Sunday titled, “Again at risk-The rights of lawful assemblage”, Prof. Soyinka said he has sent a message to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), through the Lagos State Police Commissioner, urging him to respect and safeguard the constitutional rights of the people to freedom of expression.
“I hope that, even at this eleventh hour, legality and the democratic imperative will prevail”.
Soyinka noted that from the beginning, the organizers had cited quite an extensive list of areas of concern and demands for urgent attention from the Buhari administration.
“I do not know of any citizens of civilized 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”, he said.
The Nobel Laureate said he found “the Police attempt to reverse the hands of the democratic clock 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, whose democratic formula this nation allegedly serves as Nigeria’s adopted model.