NOBEL Laureate Wole Soyinka has said that leadership of the Miyetti Allah should have been arrested before the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Soyinka said this during an interview with BBC pidgin published on Monday while speaking on the response of the Nigerian government to secessionist agitations in the southern region of Nigeria.
IPOB, a secessionist group that seeks to establish an independent nation of south-eastern states, was proscribed and declared a terrorist group by the Nigerian government in September 2017.
When asked about sentiments shared among some Nigerians that the Federal Government was prompt to clamp down on secessionist activists than banditry, Soyinka said they were right to say that there had been an ‘unbalance, unequal irregular approach to security enforcement’ in Nigeria.
“Miyetti Allah should have been arrested ages ago, long before IPOB was declared a terrorist organisation,” Soyinka said.
The Nobel laureate said a state governor had passed a law banning open grazing, but the leadership of Miyetti Allah threatened him and carried out their threats, but they were never questioned.
He also urged the Nigerian government to stop pursuing and apologise to a Yoruba Nation campaigner Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
Soyinka further said the Nigerian government would be ‘embarrassed’ if Igboho was made to stand trial in court because the former acted in a ‘criminal fashion’ by invading his residence.
“My advice is not so much to Igboho, but to the government. They should stop pursuing this person as a criminal because they (government) have begun by acting in a criminal fashion against him.
“If and when Igboho comes to trial, I bet this government would be very embarrassed. I think they should just tell Igboho, look we made a mistake, we should not have acted in this way, you are no longer wanted. Please go back to your home, in fact escort him home quietly and let him resume his normal life,” Soyinka said.
Last Thursday, at least seven people were killed during an attack on the residence of Igboho located in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
The SSS spokesman Peter Afunanya informed journalists later on Thursday evening that the raid was based on intelligence reports that Igboho was stockpiling arms to cause chaos within the South-West region.
Afunanya said that the joint team of security operatives who raided Igboho’s residence arrested 13 of his armed men, including 12 males and 1 female.
In the same week, the leader of IPOB Nnamdi Kanu was arrested by the Nigerian government to continue his trial before the court over his activities in IPOB.
Before Kanu jumped bail in 2019, he was arraigned on 11-count charge bordering on ‘terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matters, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods among others.’