Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka on Thursday accused the police of lying when it denied the reported Fulani herdsmen attack on his house.
Soyinka in a statement where he narrated his side of the incident, said he was not personally attacked but the herdsmen and cows attacked his residence.
He also countered the police version which reported just a stray cow, noting that it wasn’t even a case of two or three cows but a whole herd.
It will be recalled that the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Police Force debunked trending rumours that Professor Soyinka was recently attacked in his house by some Fulani herdsmen.
The spokesperson of the command, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi in a statement on Wednesday evening issued on behalf of the Commissioner of Police in Ogun State, Edward Awolowo Ajogun told members of the public that Soyinka was not attacked.
The Police narrated that what happened was simply a case of a strayed cattle and an attempt to locate it. It added that both the DPO of the area and the Commissioner of Police have visited the area for on the spot assessment and there is no cause for alarm.
It noted that the video suggesting any form of attack on the Professor or an attempt to kill him is purely the handiwork of mischief-makers who want to cause unnecessary panic.
However, on Thursday, Soyinka who was making a public statement for the first time about the incident noted that his property was attacked by the Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday.
He also warned the police on the need to be straightforward when putting information out to the public, particularly, sensitive ones such as his own experience.
Soyinka, in a statement, said “for those who truly seek details of the Ijegba incident, I hereby affirm that I was never physically attacked, neither did I attack any cows. The cows and herders did however attack my property – and not for the first time.”
“One has to take time off to deal with distortions and Fake versions, while students are being reportedly waylaid and killed and/or kidnapped in Ondo and farmers are being slaughtered in my own state. In short, the killings continue even as panels are being launched to enquire into immediate past human violations,” he said.
“How on earth could the police claim that my property was not invaded by cattle? It was. My groundsmen knew the drill and commenced the process of expelling them. Fortunately, I was then driving out and was able to lend a hand by vehicle maneuvering. Both cattle and herdsmen were flushed out of my property.
” Once they were outside the gates, I came down from the vehicle and beckoned the herdsmen to come over. At first they pretended not to understand, then, as I approached, fled into the bush. We thereupon “arrested” the cows, confining them to the roadside, while I sent my groundsman, Taiye, to the police to come and take over.
“Since they took rather long in responding, I summoned a replacement and proceeded to the police station. On the way, we met a detachment, turned round, and together we returned to the scene of crime. The police wanted to commence combing the bush for the fugitives but I stopped them – what was the point? Keep the cows, I advised, and the owner will show up. Of course, that owner eventually did,” he explained.
Soyinka added: “I thoroughly resent the police version which suggests that the cows never invaded my home: home is not just a building, it includes its grounds. And it was not a stray cow, or two or three. It was a herd – we have photos, so why the lie? It is so unnecessary, unprofessional and suspiciously compromised. The police suggest that I have nothing better to do than to go accosting cows on the public road – to what end? If the police demand proof, the next time such an invasion takes place, I warn that there will be no lack for cadaver affirmation and the police will be officially invited to join in the ensuing suya feast. So please, let us get serious!
The Nobel laureate while suggesting how the frequent clashes can be brought to an end, recommended the use of the railway in conveying cattle, while in the meantime, sensitization should be increased on the need for peaceful living where no person or group lords his/her way of life on others or inconvenience them.
“Getting serious means seeking with a sense of urgency, ways of terminating mayhem, impunity, and the homicidal culture being imposed on us through some near cultic business minority who just happen to trade in cattle. It means not giving up on peaceful solutions, but also being prepared for the worst. Those of my line of thought have been working on various ways of sensitizing the nation to the very real and imminent danger issuing from this cattle aberration.
“The menace, I repeat, challenges us as a cohesive entity and as communities of free individuals, committed to the dignity of existence. Cattle imperialism under any guise is an obscenity to humanity. So let me serve notice that we are about to commence a process of public sensitization; we hope even the police will join hands with the agenda as it progresses.
“A special practical plea: now that the railways are being resurrected, let us make cattle wagons a priority. I grew up with the regular sight of those practical conveyances. It is time to bring them back,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho has appealed to youths to shelf their idea of a fresh protest on Saturday over the 2020 Lekki tollgate incident.
The youths had chosen Saturday 13th February to protest the decision of the Lagos judicial panel of inquiry to open the Lekki tollgate for operation.