The Nigerian Police, Ogun State Command, has arrested some herdsmen said to have trespassed on the unfenced compound of Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, located inside Jegba republic between the outskirt of Kemta Housing Estate and Ilugun – Itoko community in Abeokuta Ogun State.
The police noted that what transpired at Soyinka’s compound was only an incident of trespassing which had been handled contrary to reports that the professor of Literature was attacked by the herders.
Confirming the incident, the command’s spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said that the trespassers, alongside the cow owners, have been invited and profiling for proper investigation.
Through a statement released to newsmen on Wednesday, Abimbola maintained that the trespassers were sighted by Soyinka who ordered that they vacate his compound.
According to him, the entire place was inspected by the DPO, and it was established that it was just a case of a stray cow as nothing was damaged or tampered with.
“The attention of Ogun state police command has been drawn to a video circulating on social media about a purported attack of Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka’s house by herdsmen and the command wishes to set the record straight as follows. Yesterday Tuesday 9th of February 2021, one Kazeem Sorinola an indigene of Ijeun Abeokuta, who is into cattle business said to have been informed by a young Fulani man Awalu Muhammad who is taking care of the cattle that one of the cows had got missing.
“While the Fulani man was searching for the stray cow around Kemta Estate where the Prof Wole Soyinka’s house is located, the Prof. himself who was going out then saw the Fulani man with some of the cows and he came down to ask where the man was heading to with the cows. He there and then asked the Fulani man to move the cattle away from the vicinity. The DPO Kemta division, who heard about the incident quickly moved to the scene with patrol team and the owner of the cows was invited to come with the Fulani man in charge of the cattle.
“The duo was questioned and properly profiled. The entire place was inspected by the DPO and it was established that it was just a case of stray cow as nothing was damaged or tampered with. It was therefore a thing of surprise to see a video trending on social media that the respected Professor Wole Soyinka’s house was invaded by herdsmen with the view to attack or kill him.
“The Commissioner of Police CP Edward Awolowo Ajogun has been to the scene for on the spot assessment, and he personally interviewed the owner of the cattle Kazeem Sorinola, as well as the Fulani man who is in charge of the cattle and their statements show clearly that the mischievous narrative of invasion is nothing to take seriously,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, a close associate of Soyinka and former Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Olu Agunloye, while reacting said that there was no attack or attempted attack on the academic.
“The trending story that herdsmen went to attack Prof Wole Soyinka in his house in Abeokuta is not true. Herdsmen did not break into his house. There were no attacks and no attempts to attack the Nobel Laureate. What happened was that herdsmen led their cattle to graze in Prof Soyinka’s unfenced compound again yesterday despite his strong warnings to the herdsmen.
“Prof Soyinka has been living in the forest at the outskirt of Abeokuta in Area designated as GRA since late 1980s. However, in recent times cattle herders have desecrated the grounds of Professor Soyinka’s compound by flooding it with cows. The Professor summoned the herdsmen and sternly warned them to stop the ugly practice. He told them in very clear terms that it was unacceptable.
“However, the herdsmen broke the rules yesterday thinking that Prof Soyinka was not home. When the Prof accosted them, they fled into the bush leaving their cows behind. Prof Soyinka reported the incident to the Police which later arrested the herdsmen and their cows.
“We can say categorically that Prof Soyinka and his house were not physically attacked but his compound was violated by recalcitrant herdsmen who wanted to turn his compound to a grazing field. Prof Soyinka and his family remain okay in their Abeokuta home,” Agunloye said in a statement.