Dr Olu Agunloye, a close associate of Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has explained how herdsmen trespassed on the unfenced compound of the respected academic with their cattle despite repeated warnings.
Agunloye, a former Minister of State for Defence, said the herdsmen did not attack the Nobel Laureate or his family members.
In a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Herdsmen did not attack Prof Soyinka’, the associate also said the trespassing herdsmen have been arrested by the police.
Agunloye said, “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.”
The South-West region has been in the eye of the storm lately over the activities of herdsmen who invade farmlands with their cattle, harass farmers, and in some cases kill them. Some herdsmen have also been accused of kidnapping, rape and other vicious crimes.
Many Nigerians including the Nobel Laureate had urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to address Nigerians and make it known publicly that he does not support the criminal activities of some herdsmen in parts of the country.
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, had also called for the enactment of a law to abolish the movement of cattle by herdsmen from the Northern part of the country to other parts in order to prevent the incessant herdsmen-farmers clashes rocking parts of the country.