Soyinka demands National Holidays for Traditional Worshipers, asks FG to punish killers of Samuel Deborah

By Samuel Ogunsona

Followers of traditional religion in Nigeria should have National Holidays like Christians and Muslims, Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has said.

The Nobel winner also called on the Federal Government to bring to book fanatics responsible for the murder of Deborah Samuel.

She was brutally murdered by religious fanatics in Sokoto State.

Soyinka said he had lectured in some Islamic countries and found the extremism of some Nigerian faithful appalling.
He said many Islamic countries treat non Muslims with respect.

Soyinka who said this during an event on Sunday monitored by Irohinoodia condemned the threat to Traditional religion in Ilorin saying that those who believed in “ISESE” festival in Kwara State should be allowed to express their faith without molestation.

He asked the Federal Government to identify and punish killers of 19-year old lady, Deborah Samuel, who hailed from Niger state but was killed in Sokoto State.

She was a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, when she was killed by her fellow students over an alleged blasphemy.

The lady was killed publicly in the most unpleasant manner in the year 2022.

Few months after the incident, the Nigeria Police Force, Sokoto State Police Command, stated that its personnel were committed to finding the killers of Deborah Samuel but nothing has been done to bring the culprits to book.

Soyinka said those suspected killers, contributed to the violent riot and were arraigned in court where the Judge ordered that they be remanded.

“Concerning those suspected killers, we have circulated their pictures to media houses and sent our intelligence to every part of the state,” he said.

Despite a viral video showing the faces of some of those responsible for flogging, killing, and burning Deborah for alleged blasphemy, no one has been arrested.

March 2023 makes it one year since the tragedy amidsts suspicion that the case may have been swept under the carpet.

Soyinka said all the case files must be opened and the students who chased the lady in the viral video must be brought to justice.

Soyinka said “all the security agencies and of the governance itself right from the president to the lowest individual in this country, I have three requests to make, demand infact to make on behalf of humanity”

He said further “One, all the case files must be opened and all those who have been killed as a result of intolerance.
The important thing is they have been extra judicially murdered. And time and time again, these files disappear” he said.

Soyinka said the students who butchered in public, who killed in open day light, in the presence of the police, the students who were arrested have been released.

He said he was surprised to hear that the police said they were not expected to manufacture the accused or the criminals perpetrators wondering what manner of language was that “coming from those who are supposed to protect us in this country.”

He regreted that the students who chased the late Deborah were known, some of them were arrested and then they were freed.

“And we say we are living in a civilized society where royal heads like Sule Gambari can insist that those who happen not to believe in his own pathway” should not be allowed.

“If you don’t believe in any deity, it’s your problem, follow yours. Nobody has disturbed you. Nobody has come over and say “come and join us”.No. Some people say we believe in giving honours to the god of Osun and we have the festival called Isese. I want to celebrate that festival, just what is your business to prevent them simply because you are sitting on the throne and yet we get away with it.”

He said further “I think it’s about time we spoke the truth, not people to government but people to people. It’s about time that we move to proactivity rather than reacting when insults have been heaped on our heritage, when our roots have been disintegrated.”

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