Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said the Ogun State Police Command ‘lied’ that herdsmen did not trespass on his unfenced compound with their cattle.
Soyinka spoke on Thursday on an Arise TV programme.
Media had reported that herdsmen trespassed on the compound of the respected academic with their cattle despite repeated warnings.
The trespassing herdsmen were later arrested by the police but the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, said the cows did not enter the compound of the Nobel Laureate.
“I also learnt that our highly revered Nobel Laureate even saw the cows heading towards the direction of his compound and of course directed that they should be chased away and they were chased away,” Ajogun had said.
But reacting on Thursday, Soyinka said the herdsmen and their cattle trespassed on his property but were driven while the police were subsequently called upon to take over.
He said, “The police need to be educated when it comes to the invasion of homes, we are not talking just about the physical building but the home and the grounds. No cattle people attacked me, that is the fact. I am here physically, I have no injury, that never happened but my home was invaded by cattle.
“Why should the police go to such length as to suggest that I have nothing to do than to go accosting cattle on the road? What’s my business with cattle on the road? We drove them out of my property with my groundsman. In fact, they began the expulsion process. So, I joined them in herding the cattle out of my premises.
“After that, once they were out of my property, that was when I arrested the cows. Why did I arrest them? On exiting my property just outside by the gate, I beckoned to the herder. I said, ‘Come over here, haven’t I given you a warning before?’ He turned around and proceeded walking along and then I walked towards him. So, he left into the bush and disappeared.
“His assistant also disappeared. We were left with the cattle. I pend the cattle by the roadside, called one of my groundsmen to stand there with me and I sent for the police to come and take over. That is a very simple, ordinary, commonsensical proceeding.
“Why should the police find it necessary to say these cattle and the herdsmen were never in my property? What kind of nonsense? It is a distraction from more serious issues. I hate to be personally at the centre of issues like this. I am more concerned about students in Ondo who were being waylaid by herdsmen, being kidnapped. I am more concerned about people in Ogun State who are being butchered. So, please, I wish to beg the police, don’t make a big issue out of this. Don’t lie.”