Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has said the police did not give accurate information about the invasion of his house by herdsmen and their cattle.
Since the news of the alleged invasion broke on Wednesday, different versions of what happened on Soyinka’s property have been told.
The Ogun State Police Command particularly said in statement that it was case of a cow straying within the vicinity of Soyinka’s property.
The statement described the narrative claiming invasion as mischievous.
But Soyinka, while he affirmed that he was not physically attacked,just as he did not attack any cows, maintained that cows and herders attack his property.
He also said that would not be the first time it would happen.
In a statement, he said, “ 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. 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.
“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 demandproof, the next time such an invasion takes place, I warn that there will be no lack for cadaver affirmationand the police will be officially invited to join in the ensuing suyafeast. So please, let us get serious!
“Getting serious means seeking with a sense of urgency, ways of terminating mayhem, impunity, and thehomicidal 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.”
The Nobel laureate advised: “ 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.”