Nobel laurate, Wole Soyinka, has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of protecting and rewarding killers of Bola Ige, former minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation.
In a statement on Tuesday titled “Trivialise corruption, Neutralise justice”, Soyinka said the Nigerian government had refused the offer of assistance from the United States to bring the killers to justice.
The Noble laureate lamented the high rate of impunity and corruption in the country which have been trivialised to score “dismissive political points.”
“Impunity stalks the land, indeed it is virtually lording it all social interstices. Let no one take my word for it – simply turn the pages of the media any day. Impunity’s ravages churn the mind. Somehow, this nation – and here again we turn to our learned friends – this nation generally failed to recognize, much less learn from the murder and enabling implications of the unsolved murder of Bola Ige, the nation’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. The Bar Association accepted the casual disposition of its erstwhile captain and has – understandably perhaps? – moved on. For some of us however, the files are not closed.
“The government at the time of Ige’s killers know the truth. That government protected – I repeat – protected, and rewarded his killers. Those who wish to dispute this had better first immerse themselves in the circumstances of that murder, and the unconstitutional, indeed illegal trajectory of the principal accused, one that not only facilitated his unconstitutional participation in the ensuing election but catapulted him straight to the occupancy of the seat that had been kept warm for him during his trial and absence. On release, he was ushered straight into the slot of Chairman of the Appropriation Committee of the House of Representatives. That was not all. The head of that government, General Olusegun Obasanjo, proceeded to burnish Ige’s memory with characteristic zeal.”
Commenting on the crisis rocking the judiciary in regards to the suspension of Walter Onnoghen, former chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), the foremost playwright said he was concerned with recent happenings, adding that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) had lost its collective voice in rectifying the situation.
Soyinka further accused President Muhammadu Buhari of “lacklustre, hands-off approach” in handling the menace of killer herdsmen which has reduced the country to slaughter fields.
“It is heartening news that some 20 concerned lawyers have come together to undertake the mission of cleaning up the Aegean stables that seem to pass today for the Nigerian Judiciary,” Soyinka said.
“Some of us do need an institution to which we can look up, of which we should even live in awe. Some find that in religious institutions, others in traditional fixtures, some even in family and so on.
“All agree that the Order of Justice is a pre-eminent candidate for collective regard and even self-regulation. No matter, we all know that, without Justice, society unravels at the seams, and its citizens resort to self-help,” Soyinka said.