Fulani Herdsmen: What really happened on Professor Wole Soyinka’s premise

Professor Wole Soyinka

The Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria has in the past few weeks been faced with lots of resistance from the people of the South West, notably when a prominent Yoruba right activist, Sunday Adeyemo (popularly known as Sunday Igboho), gave herdsmen a notice to quit South West lands.

Trailing on the development, there was a social media rumour earlier on Wednesday (November 10, 2021) that some Fulani herdsmen have attacked the home of Nobel Laurette, Professor Wole Soyinka, a critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

According to the videos circulating online, Professor Soyinka’s home located in a remote area many described as “forest” was attacked overnight.

None of these videos showed a live recording of the event or its aftermath except for a male voice narrating what he conceived had happened.

In its report of the event, an online media, PM News, “The herdsmen reportedly arrived Soyinka’s home, Abeokuta on Tuesday afternoon, but the police were said to have arrived the house on time over the matter.

“Soyinka is said to be in Lagos as at Wednesday.”

However, a report published by another online media, Vanguard Online, rebuked the claim. The report quoted Professor Soyinka’s son, Dr Olaokun Soyinka’s social media post stating; “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.

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“I have confirmed this today (Wednesday 10th) directly myself from him.

“Kindly do not fall for this attempt, whatever the motive, to further inflame this problematic situation.”

What really happened

The Ogun State Police Command in a press briefing narrated what transpired at the Nobel Laurette’s residence.

The spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, narrated it was a case of a stray cow. It was reported that a young Fulani man, Awalu Muhammad, working for a Yoruba cattle business owner, one Kazeem Sorinola an indigene of Ijeun Abeokuta, was searching for a stray cow around Kemta Estate where the Professor Wole Soyinka’s house is located.

“The Professor 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”.

In an analogous narration of the incident, Dr Olu Agunloye told Vanguard; “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 the 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.”

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