Nigerian News

FG wrong for keeping Nnamdi Kanu in prison – Wole Soyinka

Noble Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has said that the Federal Government’s decision to detain the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in prison is wrong.

He stated this in an interview with The Punch while noting that it is not a crime to advocate for secession, however, Kanu’s approach was inflammatory.

Soyinka said; “It was a mistake keeping Nnamdi Kanu in prison; I believe they kidnapped him. He had the right to pursue his cause in any way he wanted. He was never accused of using physical force or bombing or killing anyone. Yes, his language was inciting but you don’t kidnap people.

President Muhammadu Buhari seems to have an obsession with kidnapping people. It seemed to be his trademark. I think that politically speaking, if they have any real charges against him since he is in their hands, they should try him. All these technical postponements, delays, and tactics of avoiding the basic issue, for me, are counter-productive.

When the people are determined, they are willing to sacrifice anything to preserve their identity. When they feel they are on a righteous cause, it is difficult to defeat them. If there is any military defeat, it is only temporary. The real issues remain unsolved. That is a lesson of history all over the world. So, when I made that statement, I was seeing the Biafran notion and concept, and all that it represented both antecedents and the future. When you have that kind of combination of different causes, it is very difficult to defeat them.

So, Nnamdi Kanu represents that concept. He is one of the younger generation who inherited a burden of defeat, resentment, and a determination in their view, not to make the same mistakes of their predecessors. They have a new will and a new understanding of history. The only problem I had was the language Kanu used over Radio Biafra. I listened to some of it. It was very incendiary and also disrespectful of even his own people.

What we fought for – for those of us who stood on the other side – was a Biafra of conscience, and for me, that is very critical. People like Nnamdi Kanu or IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) or MASSOB (Movement for the actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra) for that matter should not act against what I call the ‘core of our humanity’ which is one of conscience. Nothing surprised me at all. What surprised me was that it took so long.”