Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka on Monday cried out over his stolen identity being used on Facebook by a Nigerian who lives in Poland.
Soyinka, who spoke at the Freedom Park on Lagos Island, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on the occasion of the Worldwide Reading for Freedom of the Press and in memory of Jamal Khashoggi on the 70th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, said he was giving the Nigerian one week ultimatum to pull down the page or he would express his freedom of expression to the fullest.
According to Soyinka, if the doctrine of freedom of expression was to be reversed, there would certainly be a number of issues to be addressed because expression on social media had taken a quantum leap in the last few years that could not be imagined.
“The principle are there but one item isn’t clear is the issue of identity. And I will have to suggest that everyone should not have his identity stolen and it is real issue for humanity and integrity of communication.
“Recently, we have a situation in Nigeria, and that is issue of cloning President Muhammadu Buhari. We have people who have taken that issue seriously. These were people that one can never believe to accept such, considering their level of intelligence.
“And when Buhari went to Poland, I said what a coincidence, because I hope while he was there, he would be able to sort-out his identity and there would be a report on the return of his identity. Poland appears to be the centre for Nigerian settlers of stolen identity,” he said.
The Nobel laureate said the media had a responsibility on higher level than it had assumed some decades ago to ensure that people’s identities were not stolen.
“This is beyond fake news because we are talking about individual identity stolen. I was in Croatia before Buhari left Nigeria for Poland. While in that country, I was tempted to leave for Poland to have a word with a Nigerian whose address is in Poland and has been running running Facebook in my name in Poland.
“I have spoken to a Croatian agency and Facebook about him. Even Facebook appears powerless to take down the page because it was already verified. I have written to him to pull down the page but he refused, claiming that he has authority to do that. And in my name, this fellow sells and buys things,” he lamented.
Soyinka decried that this Nigerian had even gotten a contract with the Amazon using his name, adding that he had thousands of followers on Facebook by using his name.
“I have his bio-data and that is why I want to tell everyone here to ask him to bring down that page. This is a very dangerous situation and that is why Facebook doesn’t want to admit publicly. If we must fight for freedom of expression, we must fight for the correct attribution of expression. So, I am giving him one week to bring down that page voluntarily or else, i will express my freedom of expression,” he warned.