Oluseye Ojo (Ibadan), Bamigbola Gbolagunte (Akure) and Molly Kilete (Abuja)
The killing of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, daughter of the leader of pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, by persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have generated anger in Yoruba land.
This is as President Mohammadu Buhari has personally called the nonagenarian, assuring that security agencies would spare no effort to apprehend the culprits, and bring them to justice. Mrs Olakunrin was said to have been shot dead on Friday at Ore Junction, on her way from Lagos to Akure by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, but another report said the killing was actually perpetrated by armed robbers.
According to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the president condoled with the grieving Fasoranti, wishing him the comfort of God, and fortitude to bear the great loss.
Adesina said Pa Fasoranti thanked the President for identifying with him and his family at their time of travail, praying that God would restore peace and amity to the country.
Also, the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu tasked security agencies in the country to fish out the killers of Mrs Olakunrin, saying that it was one killing too many to tolerate.
Akeredolu who paid a condolence visit to the Fasoranti’s family in Akure yesterday condemned the gruesome killing, calling on the security agencies to do everything possible to apprehend her killers.
Represented by his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, Akeredolu said “this is one death too many. It is unacceptable and condemnable.”
Similarly, the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, also called on security agencies to fish out the killers of Mrs Olakunrin.
He also commiserated with Pa Fasoranti and the family, praying God to grant succour and comfort to the nonagenarian at this trying time.
Makinde, in statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, said the incident signified the ‘darkest hour’ of the contemporary history of Nigeria as a nation, adding that only God could stand by and comfort the family at this time.
He described the dastardly act as shocking, saddening and despicable, adding that the security agencies must get to the roots of this ugly incident.
Also the former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, also commiserated with Pa Fasoranti, on the death of his daughter, the late Mrs Olakunrin, in the hands of gunmen.
Ekweremadu described the death as a sad reality of the security challenges facing the country today and the urgent need to recalibrate policing system.
Writing on his Facebook page @iamekweremadu, the Senator said: “I received with a deep sense of loss the news of the death of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin at the weekend. My heart goes out to Pa Fasoranti and his entire family, the Olakunrin family as well as their friends over this huge loss.
“Meanwhile, this is one death too many and comes as yet another sad reminder of the grave security situation in the country and the urgency of decentralised policing, including state and other lower rungs of police services, to better secure the lives and property of Nigerians”.
Already, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams, who has expressed visible anger over the dastardly act said that the Yoruba people should not be blamed if they react according to how the suspected herdsmen have invaded the Southwest, adding that the Yoruba race had taken to react in the media for the whole world to know that atrocities being committed against the Yoruba, before the development would turn to a tit-for-tat situation.
In a statement issued on Saturday by Media Assistant to Adams, Kehinde Aderemi, the Aare Onakakanfo said that the Yoruba race was not at a loss as to what to do to put a complete stop to the atrocities of the Fulani herdsmen, but had continuously issued statements so as to call the attention of the entire world to the development in the Southwest.
He said that the Yoruba people are not paper tigers and dogs, who can only bark without biting, adding that, “we only want the whole world to know what has been done and being done to our people.
“They should be aware of the actions that preceded our reaction when it eventually comes. We are not bereft of ideas of how to stop this criminality on our land.” He, therefore, charged all traditional rulers to take bold steps to stamp out killings by Fulani herdsmen in their domains, adding that there should be a process of identifying visitors or new settlers in every community, noting that the leader of the visitors or settlers must be known to the traditional rulers.
He commiserated with Pa Fasoranti, praying God to comfort him and his entire household, saying: “Papa, this is a very trying time. But it is certain justice will come.”
Also the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu said that unless other regions confront the Fulani with equal force this type of killing is bound to continue.
In a statement by IPOB leader, signed by his media and publicity director, Comrade Emma Powerful, Kanu commiserated with the bereaved Fasoranti family, but warned that “action is better than fury.” He said unless the Fulani marauders are confronted with action rather than words the ugly incidence would continue unabated.
The statement reads in parts: “The brazen terror attack on Yoruba soil by Fulani terrorists must not go unanswered. Let the murder of the daughter of Afenifere Chairman, Funke Fasoranti Olakunrin by Fulani terrorists be another somber, but timely reminder to the great Yoruba race that it is time for action, supporting evil as some papers in Yoruba do, has its unintended consequences.” In the same vein, the Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF) has also alleged that the administration of President Buhari has been giving kid-gloves treatment to the purported murderous excesses of the herdsmen, which, according to the forum, “is enough fillip for their continued killing of innocent souls, especially in places opposed to their archaic, backward, and crude method of pastoralism, hence, we see Mrs. Olakunrin’s murder, as another series, in that devilish plot of theirs”.
YUF, in a statement issued by its publicity secretary, Lanre Ogundipe, said it received with shock, sadness and trepidation, the news of the unfortunate killing of Mrs Olakunrin.
Part of the statement reads: “While YUF commiserates with the revered Yoruba elder, his family, both nuclear and extended, and indeed all of Yoruba land, on this unfortunate, yet preventable death, and sincerely pray that the gentle soul of Mrs. Olakunrin finds peace with her maker, we’re constrained to lay the entire blame of her sad demise on the doorstep of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“YUF feels that, and rightly so too, that President Buhari’s continued emotional attachment to his folks; the Fulanis, to the detriment of the rest of the country, is already the fuel for the eventual arson of the whole country, if unchecked.”
Meanwhile the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has vowed to fish out the killers of Mrs Olakunrin.
To ensure that killers are apprehended to the face the law, the IGP has ordered a total overhaul of security on the highways in Southwest, South-south and Southeast parts of the country.
Adamu, who gave the order in Abuja, said that already the Ondo State Police Command, backed by Special Forces and seasoned investigators from the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and the Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU) deployed from the Force headquarters, Abuja, have commenced investigation and manhunt for the killers. Adamu in a statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said: “The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has assured the nation that the killers of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, daughter of the leader of the Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasorantin will certainly be found and made to face the full weight of the Law.” Indeed, the Ondo State Police Commissioner, Undie Adie yesterday revealed that hoodlums numbering about 16 shot the daughter of Afenifere leader, Mrs Olakunrin sporadically till she gave up the ghost.
He said Mrs Olakunrin was attacked at Kajola village alongside other passengers coming from Imo State to Lagos, but she was the only one shot to death. He said: “Recall that at about 2:15 p.m on Friday, between Nirowi and Nitel along Ore-Ijebu-Ode expressway, about 16 unknown gunmen ambushed some vehicles along the road, shooting sporadically at them.
“This led to the death of Mrs Funke Olakunrin who was hit by the bullet from these criminals.
“The incident attracted the nearby Police Patrol team from Ore division who immediately engaged the hoodlums forcing them to escape into the bush and also prevented them from causing further damage of kidnapping or any harm to other commuters.
“The police with the support of the local vigilante had since yesterday been combing the bushes to ensure that the perpetrators of the dastardly act are made to bear the full weight of the law.
“I am presently at the scene to coordinate and mobilise both police and vigilante team to ensure that the culprits are apprehended and brought to justice.
“While we send our condolences to the people of Ondo State and most especially the family of the deceased, we want to reassure the good people of the state and other members of the public of our determination to rid the state of this type of criminal act and other violent crimes.”
Eminent leaders of thought and nationalities in Nigeria under the aegis of Pro-National Conference Organisations, PRONACO, initiated by the late Chief Anthony Enahoro and Prof Wole Soyinka and Project Nigeria Movement, PNM, led by Prof Ben Nwabueze, also condemned the murder of Mrs Olakunrin. The group in a statement said: “We wish to state categorically that yesterday’s criminal murder of the daughter of the leader of the pan-Yoruba movement, Afenifere, is wicked, ungodly and remains unacceptable and unbearable to our Pan-Nigerian political platforms, PRONACO and the Project Nigeria Movement as it is capable aggravating the already tensed situation in the Southwest and foisting unwanted civil strife on the country
“We, therefore, wish to strongly call on President Muhammadu Muhammadu, Chairman of the Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and National Leader of the ruling APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, among others, to urgently put a strong machinery in motion for national political engagements to prevent a breakdown of law and order over the cruel and criminal killings in Southwest by armed Fulani robbers and bandits.”