- Afenifere Leader: All I want is stop the killings in the country
- Obasanjo says Olakunri’s killing has diminished Nigeria
Chuks Okocha, Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Femi Ogbonnikan in Abeokuta
President Muhammadu Buhari, Saturday, told Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, that his government would spare no effort in apprehending the killers of his daughter, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, who was hacked down by unknown gunmen on Friday. Buhari, who called the elder statesman to commiserate with him over the tragic incident that occurred on Kajola-Ore road, in Ondo State, in a statement by his spokesperson, Mr. Femi Adesina, prayed God to comfort Pa Fasoranti and grant him the fortitude to bear the great loss.
Responding, Fasoranti thanked the president for identifying with him and his family at this time of their travail and prayed God to restore peace and amity to the country.
He later called on the President Muhammadu Buhari to put an end to the orgy of killings in the country.
Speaking while receiving dignitaries at his Akure residence, the nonagenarian asked the federal government to check the high rate of crime in the country. Fasoranti said he never knew Friday would be the last day that he would see Funke Olakunrin, his daughter who was shot dead along Benin-Ore highway, on Friday.
“She came to me around 9am on Friday to bid me farewell. I never thought I would not see her again,” he said.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has called to commiserate with me. But all I need from the president is to find solutions to these killings in the country.”
But former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in his reaction, said by the development, Nigeria had been diminished. In a similar condolence message, former President Goodluck Jonathan said no one deserved such tragic news and urged the security agencies to bring the killers to book.
Similarly, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, all condemned the murder of Fasoranti’s 58-year-old daughter and commiserated with the old man over the loss.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered a manhunt for the killers and deployed a special team of crack detectives for the assignment.
Obasanjo, who said the killing was a worrisome development at a time when all well-meaning Nigerians were preaching tolerance and political accommodation, tasked the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators.
In a condolence letter to Pa Fasoranti, a copy of which was made available to newsmen through his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Saturday in Abeokuta, Obasanjo said, “This is a worrisome development in our polity, especially, at a time when all well-meaning Nigerians are preaching tolerance and political accommodation in national politics.
“I must say Nigeria, as a whole, is diminished by the manner of Funke’s death. We deplore this dastardly act and seize this opportunity to call on governments at all levels to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that our security agents vigorously pursue and find the perpetrators of such heinous crime and make them face the full weight of the law.
“We must, together, find solution to all acts of insecurity in the country, particularly acts of banditry, kidnapping, robbery and killing by the suspected Fulani herdsmen.”
Obasanjo stated that his letter of commiseration would be delivered to Pa Fasoranti in Akure by former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Otunba Oluwole Fasawe, because of his engagement in Morocco.
The former president also stated in the letter, “As you mourn the tragic loss of our very dear Funke, please, be assured of the sympathy and profound sorrow of many others like me, who are saddened by the manner of her demise especially, as she still had a lot to contribute to the nation and her family to which she was highly devoted.
“Let me also implore you to be strong for the entire family. I pray that God Himself will comfort you and sustain the whole family in this hour of painful trial. And may the soul of the dear departed rest in perfect peace.
“Because, I have to be in Morocco, I am sending a delegation of Otunba Oluwole Fasawe and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola with this letter and to personally deliver my condolence.”
Jonathan stated in his condolence message, “My heart goes out to Chief Reuben Fasoranti and his entire family over the untimely death of his daughter, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, at the hands of suspected gunmen.
“No one deserves to hear such news, not the least being Pa Fasoranti, a man that has given so much to Nigeria and asked so little. I am encouraged by the message from the Governor of Ondo State and his assurances that those behind this heinous and callous crime will be brought to book.
“Baba, may God comfort you and your family and grant you the fortitude to bear the loss, even as we pray that the Almighty returns peace to Nigeria. My family and I offer you our deepest solidarity now and always. We also extend our arm in love to Afenifere. You are not alone.”
Tinubu, who spoke to Pa Fasoranti by telephone to commiserate with him, declared that Olakunrin’s death was a personal loss to him and promised to personally visit him to share in his grief.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondoyan, described as heart-rending the siege on the nation under the Buhari administration. The party said Nigeria had become a killing field and large funeral palour with insurgents, bandits and assassins having a field day waylaying and killing innocent compatriots, especially those making very useful contributions to the development of our nation.
The statement said, “Our party is worried that security agencies are rather engaging in debates over the identity of the killers and hurriedly pointing to a case of abduction even before any extensive investigation has been carried out on the horrific and dastardly act.
“The party bewails that the killing of Funke Olakunrin marks yet another national loss occasioned by the failure of the Buhari administration to secure the nation beyond lip service, a development that has emboldened marauders in our country.”
PDP added, “Olakunrin must not die in vain. Our dear nation must not continue to lose her finest and brightest in the hands of bandits. Our party therefore charges the authorities to go beyond condolence messages from Abuja and take concrete steps to apprehend Funke Olakunrin’s killers, as well as ensure security of lives in our nation.”
While condoling Pa Fasoranti, the PDP charged the Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, to take immediate and decisive steps to track down the killers and make them face the full wrath of the law.
On his part, Ekweremadu, while commiserating with Fasoranti, described the death of the elder statesman’s daughter as a sad reality of the security challenges facing the country today and the urgent need to recalibrate the policing system.
Writing on his Facebook page, @iamekweremadu, the Ekweremadu said: “I received with a deep sense of (grief) 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.”
Police spokesman, Femi Joseph, said the incident occurred between Kajola and Ore, along Ondo-Ore road, on Friday, while the late Olakunrin was travelling from Akure to Ore as her vehicle was attacked alongside others.
Joseph, who initially said he was not aware that the deceased was related to the Afenifere chairman, stated regarding the fatal attack, “It happened at a spot between Kajola and Ore, where some hoodlums numbering about 15, attacked two vehicles, 1 Toyota Land Cruiser and 1 Camry. The Land Cruiser was carrying five passengers, including the deceased, which we later identified as one Funke Olakunrin. They shot the woman, we rushed her to the hospital, but we lost her.”
Adamu, who has ordered a manhunt for the killers, vowed to arrest them and bring them to book. He also deployed a team of crack detectives from the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), and the Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU) to track the killers.
The IGP has also ordered an overhaul of the security architecture on the highways in the South-west, South-east and South-south. A statement issued by the Force Spokesman, Frank Mba, said the Police High Command had concluded plans to replicate the security arrangement already in place on the Abuja-Kaduna Highway in the South-west.
The statement said, “The Inspector General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, has assured the nation that the killers of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of the leader of the Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, will certainly be found and made to face the full weight of the Law.
“The IGP notes that 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, on his directives, have already commenced a massive manhunt for the killers with a view to tracking, arresting and bringing them to justice.”
But as part of measures to prevent a future occurrence of such incidence, the IGP also ordered an overhaul of security architecture on the highways straddling the southern part of the country.
Mba said in the statement said, “The Commissioners of Police in the affected states were ordered by the IGP to emplace adequate security arrangement in their Areas of Jurisdiction (AOR).
“He equally assures the nation that the Force Headquarters has perfected plans to replicate the special security arrangement powered by ‘Operation Puff Adder’ currently ongoing in Kaduna-Abuja expressway in key highways in the Southern part of the country.
“The IGP further reiterates the fact that the Force will not rest on its oars until sanity is restored in every nook and cranny of the country. He therefore calls for calm and support from all Nigerians, especially residents of Ondo State, in aid of the current investigation.”