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Police lied, herdsmen, cattle invaded my residence – Soyinka

Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, said the Nigerian Police Force lied on the claim that herdsmen and their cattle did not invade his residence in…

Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, said the Nigerian Police Force lied on the claim that herdsmen and their cattle did not invade his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The Commissioner of Police in Ogun State, Edward Ajogun, had on Wednesday dispelled reported invasion on the residence of Soyinka, saying it was a mere case of cows straying into the compound.

Reports had, earlier on Wednesday, went viral on social media that some herdsmen had invaded Soyinka’s residence at Ijegba Estate, Kemta, Abeokuta, in alleged attempt to attack the literary icon.

The CP, who was on on-the-spot-assessment to Soyinka’s residence, told newsmen that “we have evidence of cow dung but, we did not see the cows.

“What we heard was that three of the cows strayed into the compound of the Nobel Laureate not more than 20 meters away from the entrance and they were immediately chased out.

“I even heard that the Nobel Laureate saw the cows heading towards his compound and of course he directed that they should be chased away.”


‘Mad cow and madder narratives’

Reacting in a statement on Thursday, Soyinka warned the police to always be truthful in their engagements with the people.

Soyinka, in a statement titled: “Mad cow and madder narratives,” confirmed that his home was actually invaded by herdsmen and their cows on Tuesday.

He, however, affirmed that he was never physically attacked, but “cows and herders did however attack my property – and not for the first time.”

“The police need to be very, very careful, learn to be straightforward with public information.

“Failure to adhere to that obvious, basic form of conduct means that the public will lose total confidence in security agencies and constantly bypass them in times of civic unrest, no matter how trivial or deadly.

“How on earth could the police claim that my property was not invaded by cattle? It was,” Soyinka said.

The literary icon said the cattle and herdsmen caught within his property were flushed out.

Soyinka said: “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 around, and together we returned to the scene of the 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.”


‘A herd of cattle’

He added that: “I thoroughly resent the police version which suggests that the cows never invaded my home: the 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!

“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.”

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