Wednesday, January 27, 2016

.NOBEL laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called for a holistic investigation into the demolition of the Artists Village in the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu Lagos.
The Artists’ Village, considered as the only space that still brews creativity and activity within the National Arts Theatre, was allegedly demolished following the directive from the National Arts Theatre General Manager, Kabiru Yusuf, on Saturday, January 23, 2016.

Soyinka, who was reacting to the demolition of the village said though he was not apportioning any blame to anybody, “but that there is need to find out who was responsible, who brought the arms, shots were fired, who authorised them etc.
”This should not be happening, indeed, not in this society, if we presume to be cultured and civilized.”
He however, condemned the alleged brutality used during the demolition.
He said: “From all evidence and inquiry I have made since then, I still did not believe the orders were given at the ministerial level on what happened on Saturday. So, if I am right, and I think am, we must get to the bottom of what happened. Who gave the orders? We don’t want to hear anymore from oga at the top, or order came from above. No, we have to get down to the nitty-gritty, especially as the matter is far reaching as it goes back a long time, to the struggle for the soul of the national theatre”
According to him: “People must stop thinking that what happened is unique to Nigeria and that it is a common occurrence outside Nigeria, especially in egalitarian countries. The problem is, what is the relationship between destroying shanties as directed by the Minister and shooting of someone. Punishment must be applied to prevent a repeat.”
Sources claimed the Director General, who was acting on alleged orders of the Culture Minister to demolish shanties in the National Theatre in company of armed policemen came to the artists’ village with bulldozers as early as 5 am and demolished workshops and structures that housed veteran actors, painters, sculptors, drums etc without any prior notice of demolition.

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