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DSS, judiciary ridiculing Nigeria, says Soyinka


•Tasks CSOs on concerted efforts against rights abuses
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, yesterday called on the Department of State Services (DSS) and the judiciary to apologise to Nigeria, lamenting that the nation was being ridiculed before the world on account of the actions of the duo.

In a statement entitled, “Sowore, Human Rights and the Rule of Law,” the poet called on civil society organisations (CSOs) to coordinate their responses to alleged rights abuses by state agents.

He claimed that government officials were on a mission to enthrone a “pattern of conduct that openly scoffs at the role of the judiciary in (our) national life.”

His words: “The sporadic, uncoordinated responses as in the case of Omoyele Sowore and the absence of a solid strategy against any threat are enabling these agencies in their mission to enthrone a pattern of conduct that openly scoffs at the role of the judiciary in (our) national life.


“Result? A steady entrenchment of the cult of impunity in the dealings of state with the citizenry – both individuals and organisations. The level of arrogance has crossed even the most permissive thresholds.

“It is heart-warming to witness the determined efforts of ‘Concerned Nigerians’ in defence of these rights.”

Soyinka went on: “Predictably, the ham-fisted response of the DSS continues to defy the rulings of the court. The weaponry of lies having been exploded in their faces, they resort to what else? Violence! Violence, including, as now reported, the firing of live bullets.

“Why the desperation? The answer is straightforward: the government never imagined that the bail conditions for Sowore would ever be met. Even Sowore’s supporters despaired. The bail test was clearly set to fail! It took a while for the projection to be reversed, and it left the DSS floundering. That agency then resorted to childish, cynical lies. It claimed that the ordered release was no longer in their hands, but in Sowore’s end of the transfer. The lie being exploded, what next? Bullets of course!

“Such a development is not only callous and inhuman, it is criminal. It escalates an already untenable defiance by the state. As I remarked from the onset, this is an act of government insecurity and paranoia that merely defeats its real purpose. And now – bullets? This is no longer comical. Perhaps it is necessary to remind this government of precedents in other lands where, even years after the event, those who trampled on established human rights that generated homicidal impunity were called to account for abuse of power and crimes against humanity.”

The novelist added that the protests for Sowore’s release had gone beyond acts of solidarity to demand for adherence to rule of law.

He further stated: “Enough of this charade, nothing more than a display of crude, naked power. Release Omoyele Sowore and save us further embarrassment.

“An apology to the nation by the DSS and the judiciary would also not be out of place. It would go some distance in redeeming the image of an increasingly fascistic agency and reduce the swelling tide of public disillusionment.”

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DSSWole Soyinka
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