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Soyinka Calls For Compensation For Demolished Structures In Artiste Village

Prof. Wole Soyinka says compensation should be paid to artistes whose shanties were pulled on Jan. 23 at the Artiste Village, National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos. Soyinka made the call at a news conference held at the Freedom Park in Lagos on Tuesday. The Nobel Laureate said some of the artistes’ property were wantonly demolished. “It is fundamentally wrong to have done that without notice, the people involved in the act should be brought to book. “If compensation is not going to come, the people involved should seek redress in court to claim damages”, Soyinka said. NAN recalls that the structures were demolished on the orders of Kabir Yusuf, the General Manager of the National Theater, Lagos. “It shows there is still too much of a military mentality embedded in some of our people and especially those who are supposed to help usher in or strengthen whatever we consider democratic usage. “For me, any way, democracy means a humane approach to governance and policy making, in addition to the execution of those policies. “I think we should be getting rid of that mentality by emphasising and re-emphasing that there are certain ways in which you do not relate with citizenry”, he said. Soyinka said he was not apportioning blame, “when I talk about usage or governance, I am not putting faces on it. “Am addressing what happened on Saturday, Jan. 23, we know what the issues are. “Evicting people without notice, we are saying this should not be happening in this time of democracy, in our society”, he said. He said that any enquiry into what happened should be done in the open, and not behind closed doors. “We must get to the bottom of what happened and who did what, not the `oga at the top matter’’, he said. Mufu Onifade, and artist and former President, Society of Nigerian Artists, said that property worth N40 million were destroyed in the exercise. “What Yusuf referred to as shanties were studios erected by artistes. “There were no shanties there, and there were no illegal buildings there”, he said. (NAN)

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