Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has countered the statement released by the Ogun state police saying that no cattle invaded his property in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Tuesday, February 9.
The state police command had on Wednesday, February 10, released a statement debunking claims on social media that Soyinka’s property was invaded by the cattle. The statement mentioned that the cattle were owned by a Yoruba man who contracted a herdsman to cater to them. The police said it was one of the cows that strayed to the street where Soyinka’s property is located.
However in an interview with Arise TV, Soyinka dismissed the police’s statement saying it was incorrect. He said the cattle indeed invaded his property and that it took the intervention of him and his grounds’ men to get them out of his property.
“I am here physically. I didn’t suffer any injury. That never happened but cattle invaded my home. Why should the police go to such length as to suggest that I had nothing better to do than to go and be accosting cattle on the road? What is my business with cattle on the road? We drove them out of my house together with my grounds’ men. In fact, they began the expulsion process.
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.”
He also blamed the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) for the stereotyping of the Fulani.
“I am very glad you mentioned this issue of a Yoruba man being the owner of the cattle. It is very critical. In fact, you will notice that I rarely use the word Fulani. It is unfortunate that any kind of crime has to be linked to any section of any ethnic community. It is something that nobody is comfortable with.
“But unfortunately, Miyetti Allah themselves and their spokespeople were the ones who identified and claimed this crime as their own. I know exactly when they did. So, the whole nation followed suit” he said.
According to him, it is not the entire people called Fulani who are guilty of these crimes. He accused the leadership of MACBAN of being 90 percent responsible for the condition Nigerians found themselves.
“Cattle breeding itself is not criminal, it is when you encroach on other people’s right even to the extent of displacing them, humiliating them, dehumanising them, raping their women, and killing them. That is when it becomes a crime against humanity and must be dealt with very firmly. Even with dealing with it, we must be careful to separate the grain from the shaft” he said