Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has described the attack on Owo as a message to the South West.
Soyinka said this during his condolence visit to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on Friday following the attack on the St. Francis Catholic Church on Sunday.
“He was targeted and there is no question about that. It was not an accident, and it is passing a message to the rest of us,” Soyinka said according to a statement issued by the governor’s media aide Richard Olatunde.
“That is why I’m here. I want the Governor to know that we have received the message. We understand it and we came to sympathize with him that he was selected as a medium of that message.
“So, the answer we must give to the message we all received is that we are not slaves. Here, on our own soil, having had the experience of a century of disdain, and contempt about us as black people.”
He said “some characters come along calling themselves whatever, ISWAP, Boko Haram. So, all those groups including those who are just opportunists – the herdsmen – are making a mistake. I want the Governor to realize they are making a mistake.
“I have been on this issue for quite some time. This invasion has been on and these herdsmen are all over the forests. At a time we thought it was Boko Haram, we didn’t know that Fulani herdsmen were capitalising on the fundamentalist insurgency and brutality.
“And that is why we see a nexus of operation between ISWAP, Boko Haram, and Fulani herdsmen. They work singularly, individually and they work collectively. I Know Ondo State has always been at the forefront of awareness.”
On his part, the governor thanked Soyinka for the visit, saying that the state will remain hugely indebted to him.
“It is a cause that he has dedicated his life to, and I thank God for his life. The state wants to appreciate you for finding time to come at this hour of grief.
“This is like a dagger drawn to our heart, and it is an assault on our psyche. The psyche of those of us in the South-West and Western Region,” he said.
“I think they think they can create some fears in us but they made a mistake because this will make us more fierce in our condemnation of their actions. And we are not hiding it.”