Prof. Wole Soyinka

Soyinka Demands Public Holiday for Traditional Worshippers, Visa Ban on Religious Bigots

Against the backdrop of his 89th birthday celebrations, renowned literary icon and Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, on Sunday demanded that security agencies reopen unresolved cases of religious killings while a public holiday be created for traditionalists.

The Nobel laureate said the demands were 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.”

Soyinka lamented the failure of security officials to prosecute perpetrators of extrajudicial killings.

His appeal was underpinned by the case of Deborah Samuel, a second-year student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State, who was killed on May 12, 2022, over allegations of blasphemy.

The literary icon asked that the files “be opened — beginning with Deborah — on all those who have killed extrajudicially in the name of religion.”

Soyinka’s second demand was targeted at members of the diplomatic community.

According to him, it was not enough for the international community to place travel restrictions on perpetrators of electoral violence in the 2023 general elections, but that visa bans be extended to religious bigots.

Lastly, the famed playwright decried the neglect faced by traditionalists in the country, 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.

“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”, Prof Soyinka declared