Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called on the Federal Government to reopen cases of religious killings in the country. Soyinka made this appeal on Channels Television during his 89th birthday celebration while he also sought a visa ban on religious bigots. A second-year student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State, Deborah Samuel was killed on 12 May 2022, over allegations of blasphemy. “I also demand that the case files be opened beginning with Deborah Samuel and all those who have killed extrajudicially in the name of religion,” Soyinka said. Soyinka said part of his three demands from the Nigerian government includes the creation of a public holiday for traditionalists. He decried the neglect faced by traditionalists in Nigeria, with the renowned playwright declaring: “we’ve had enough”.
“It’s about time we demanded, on behalf of traditional religions, an annual holiday like Islam and Christianity. We’ve had enough,” he said. “We’ve had enough of being second-class citizens in this nation. So, equal time, equal space, we demand public holidays. We demand it of state governments, local governments, and the Federal Government. We want an annual public holiday.” “The demands are aimed at “all the security agencies in this country and of the governance itself, right from the President to the lowest individual in this country,” he said.
Soyinka also lamented the failure of security officials to prosecute the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings. He said that it is not enough for the international community to place travel restrictions on perpetrators of electoral violence in the 2023 general elections. According to the Nobel Laureate, visa bans should also be extended to religious bigots.