Prof Wole Soyinka has warned the Federal Government and the security agencies against trying to muzzle Nigerians anytime they come together to exchange ideas.
According to him, such a step could signal fear on the part of government and that such reduces the people and the government itself.
Soyinka gave the warning in Badagry on Saturday at the unveiling of an art gallery in commemoration of his 85th birthday.
It would be recalled that the police, Nigerian Army and the Department of State Services on Monday in Lagos sealed off the venue for a symposium where Soyinka, rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, and others were to speak on the security issues in the country.
Speaking on Saturday at the event put together by the Femi Coker Art Gallery, Soyinka said: “It is important to send strong message to this government and to the security services to stop trying to muzzle people when they come together to exchange ideas.
“You’re reducing them as human beings and you’re also reducing yourselves as human beings, because it means you’re afraid to listen.”
The Nobel Laurate also cautioned Nigerians not to believe everything they read on social media, adding that they should instead take such online materials “with a pinch of salt.
He said: “Be very, very careful what you believe even when you read such materials in social media or sometimes in newspapers because in this country, we have a most fertile multiplier effect.
“When somebody hears something, he puts it on the Internet, it spreads and an industry begins as people start commenting on things which never existed.
“Sometimes on social media, you’ll even see trending quotes supposedly from me, with my name, my photograph, with statements which represents what those people want to say but lacked the courage to say it.”
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