Why I haven't delivered Mubarak Bala's open letter to Tinubu - Soyinka

Soyinka 1

Soyinka and Bala

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has given reason why he has not yet delivered Mubarak Bala’s open letter to President Bola Tinubu.

Bala has been in prison in Abuja for more than three years while serving a 24-year prison sentence for dumping Islam for atheism.

At the launch of “A Letter to a President,” last week, Soyinka pledged to help deliver Bala’s open letter to the president when the opportunity comes.

But the Nobel Laureate, in a statement on Tuesday, said he has not delivered the letter to Tinubu, because he has yet to meet him.

Soyinka said he had been bombarded by both local and international Human Rights organisations, with inquiries about the outcome of delivering the letter to the president.

In his words: “Thanks to my pledge to seize the first opportunity to personally deliver a signed copy of the recently launched Appeal by the above Prisoner of Conscience, Mubarak Bala, to President, I have been bombarded by both local and international Human Rights organisations, with inquiries about the outcome.

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“I regret to state that some media have completely misreported this, and I have yet to meet the current tenant of Aso Rock.”

He called on all those who participated in the August 5h launch of the document as well as well-wishers of Mubarak Bala to continue and indeed intensify their efforts, through whatever avenues, to secure the release of this unjustly persecuted youth whose only crime was to insist on his freedom of thought and belief, and its expression.

“I must however exploit this opportunity to call on all those who participated in the August 5h launch of the document as well as well-wishers of Mubarak Bala to continue and indeed intensify their efforts, through whatever avenues, to secure the release of this unjustly persecuted youth whose only crime was to insist on his freedom of thought and belief, and its expression.

”There should be no let-up until this symbol of our times is restored to full freedom and human dignity,” he stated.

Last week, during the launch of the launch of “A Letter to a President,” written by Bala to Tinubu, Soyinka called for a national dialogue on religion.

The Nobel Laureate said it was high time Nigerians interrogated how religious practices impinged on the rights and freedoms of individuals in the country.

Soyinka, who was unequivocal while making his demands, called for a meeting of minds on religion not only against the backdrop of Bala’s continuing incarceration but also in the light of atrocities committed by religious fanatics in the name of religion, while referencing Deborah Samuel, the lady who was lynched and burnt to death in Sokoto in 2022 by her fellow students over alleged blasphemy.

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