The Police; son, Olaokun Soyinka; and long term ally, Dr. Olu Agunloye, on Wednesday spoke about what transpired at the Abeokuta, Ogun State residence of Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, when herdsmen went into the vicinity.
The explanation followed conflicting reports that the elder statesman had been sacked from his house by rampaging Fulani herdsmen.
This came days after Soyinka complained that the herdsmen were straying into his space and constricting his movement, especially hunting.
But the spokesman of the Ogun State Police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi; Soyinka’s son, Olaokun; and Agunloye, who worked with Soyinka in establishing the Federal Road Safety Corps, said the Nobel laureate was never attacked by the Fulani herdsmen.
Oyeyemi said in a statement on Wednesday: “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 Fulani 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 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 were 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 Fulani herdsmen with the view to attack or kill him.
“The video is nothing but a calculated attempt by mischief makers to cause panic in the mind of people. There is nothing like invasion of Prof Wole Soyinka’s house or any form of attack on his person.
“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 serious.
“The command hereby wishes to warn the fake news peddler to desist from it as they may be made to feel the weight of the law. It is an offence for anybody to originate or help in circulating fake news, the command will therefore, henceforth be tracing and fishing out those deliberately dishing out fake information to members of the public especially the one that cause panic in the mind of innocent people.”
Olaokun said in a terse statement: “This is not true, please do not circulate further and help to debunk it. It is an attempt to encourage discord. Although some cows were spotted, neither Prof or his house was attacked by anyone. I have confirmed this today (Weds 10th) directly myself from him. Kindly do not fall for this attempt, whatever the motive, to further inflame this problematic situation.”
Agunloye wrote: “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.”