How herdsmen invaded Prof Soyinka’s compound

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Details have emerged of how Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday attacked the house of Nobel Laurette, Prof. Wole Soyinka in Abeokuta.

It was gathered that the herders led their cattle to graze in Prof Soyinka’s unfenced compound on Tuesday despite his strong warnings to the herdsmen to desist from grazing on his property.

READ: Herders Eviction: Reprisal attack looms, says Northern Governors

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.

Theleadng learnt that the Professor had summoned the herdsmen and sternly warned them to stop the ugly practice, stressing 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,” noted Dr Olu Agunloye, an associate of Prof Soyinka.

It was learnt that Soyinka had moved to Lagos in the meantime, following the attack while one of the herders has been arrested.

The Southern and Middle Belt Forum has condemned attack on the Abeokuta residence of the Nobel Laurette, Prof. Wole Soyinka, by Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday.

In a statement issued by the forum on Wednesday, signed by Yinka Odumakin (South-West); Chief Guy Ikokwu (South-East); Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South); and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), the group described the attack on the professor as a painful development.

The group also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to caution Fulani herdsmen in the country, saying their criminal activities could cause division in Nigeria.

The statement read, “Hours after Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, warned this country that the activities of Fulani herdsmen could lead to a civil war and urged President Buhari to denounce them clearly to show he is President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, the herdsmen stormed the elder stateman’s residence in Abeokuta around 1 pm on Tuesday and caused serious scare before the professor called in the police.

“It is a painful development that herders will not even give a scant regard to a man of Soyinka stature in their madness let loose on Nigeria with no authority to call them to order.

“If there are people still living in denial about the intention of these criminals and those shielding them, there is no further evidence than this.

“We do not know what they have that they are playing this roulette but we are sure when a blind man says we have to settle this stoning ourselves, it is either he is stepping on or clutching one.

“We also want to warn them of the implications of hurting a man like Soyinka with the fragile unity of the country.

“Let President Buhari know that these criminals are working hard to make him the last President of One Nigeria.”

In the same vein, the Women Arise and Centre for Change condemned the attack on Soyinka.

A statement signed by the President of the group, Joe Okei-Odumakin, described the attack as a confirmation that Nigeria is on the edge of a precipice.

The group urged the security agencies to accost the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

The statement read, “After a confirmation from Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, that some herders struck at his Abeokuta home on Tuesday at 1pm, leading to a siege on the world literary figure, we can now safely say that Nigeria is at the edge of the precipice.

“Soyinka had warned the country last weekend of how close Nigeria is to civil war if President Muhammadu Buhari did not act fast.

“Instead of the president acting, his media aides said he would become a talkative if he continued to speak on Miyetti Allah.

“Nigeria is dying before our very eyes and its death pang is what the attack on Soyinka symbolised.

“We hope security agencies will still have the guts to accost the assailants and bring them to justice, although the prognosis does not look good at all.”