Former minister and close ally of Prof. Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laureate, Olu Agunloye has reacted to the trending story that herdsmen attacked Prof. Wole Soyinka in his house in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, describing it as untrue.
In a statement a few hours ago, Agunloye said there were no attacks and no attempts to attack Soyinka.
‘’ 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 (Tuesday) despite his strong warnings to the herdsmen’’.
He added: ‘’Prof. Soyinka has been living in the forest at the outskirts 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.
Soyinka’s son. Dr. Olaokun , also in a statement said the report was untrue and pleaded with Nigerians to disregard it.
The former Ogun State Commissioner for Health said: ”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 (Wednesday 10th) directly myself from him. King do not fall for this attempt, whatever the motive to further inflame this problematic situation”
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Police Command, has described the reports as ‘’the handiwork of those dishing out fake information to members of the public, particularly the one that causes panic in the mind of innocent people’’.
In a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi said:‘’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.’’
Oyeyemi added that the Commissioner of Police, Edward Awolowo Ajogun had been to the scene for on-the-spot assessment.
‘’The command warns fake news peddlers 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.
‘’Henceforth, the command will be tracing and fishing out those deliberately dishing out fake information to members of the public, especially the one that causes panic in the mind of innocent people’’ he concluded. .