Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka


In a reaction titled, “Mad cows and madder narratives,” the Nobel laureate from Kemta Housing Estate, Abeokuta, noted that it was unprofessional for the police to deny an incident that had photographs and other obvious proofs.

He said, “For those who truly seek details of the Ijegba incident, I hereby affirm that I was never physically attacked, neither did I attack any cows. The cows and herders did however attack my property – and not for the first time.

“The police need to be very, very careful, learn to be straightforward with public information. Failure to adhere to that obvious, basic form of conduct means that the public will lose total confidence in security agencies and constantly bypass them in times of civic unrest, no matter how trivial or deadly. How on earth could the police claim that my property was not invaded by cattle? It was.

My groundsmen knew the drill and commenced the process of expelling them. Fortunately, I was then driving out and was able to lend a hand by vehicle manoeuvering. Both cattle and herdsmen were flushed out of my property.

“Once they were outside the gates, I came down from the vehicle and beckoned the herdsmen to come over. At first, they pretended not to understand, then, as I approached, they fled into the bush. We thereupon ‘arrested’ the cows, confining them to the roadside, while I sent my groundsman, Taiye, to the police to come and take over.

“Since they took rather long in responding, I summoned a replacement and proceeded to the police station. On the way, we met a detachment, turned round, and together we returned to the scene of the crime.”

Soyinka noted that the police wanted to commence combing the bush for the herders but he stopped them, asking them to keep the cows and the owners would show up, which was what happened.

“I thoroughly resent the police version which suggests that the cows never invaded my home: home is not just a building, it includes its grounds. And it was not a stray cow, or two or three. It was a herd – we have photos, so why the lie? It is so unnecessary, unprofessional and suspiciously compromised.

“The police suggest that I have nothing better to do than to go accosting cows on the public road – to what end?

“If the police demand proof, the next time such an invasion takes place, I warn that there will be no lack for cadaver affirmation and the police will be officially invited to join in the ensuing Suya feast. So please, let us get serious.”

He added that the menace of “cattle imperialism under any guise is an obscenity to humanity.”

“So, let me serve notice that we are about to commence a process of public sensitisation; we hope even the police will join hands with the agenda as it progresses.

“A special practical plea: now that the railways are being resurrected, let us make cattle wagons a priority. I grew up with the regular sight of those practical conveyances. It is time to bring them back,” he concluded.

Cows had been reported to have invaded the residence of the Nobel laureate on Wednesday – an incident which drew condemnation from various groups and quarters, although the police in Ogun denied the incident, saying it was a case of straying cows.


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