Killers of Funke Olakunrin were assassins, not armed robbers – Driver

Funke Olakunrin
Funke Olakunrin

More facts, on Saturday, emerged on the killing of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, 58-year-old daughter of elder statesman and Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti at Ore junction, Ondo State, on Friday, by suspected herdsmen.

One of the survivors of the incident said that those who killed Mrs Olakunrin, although were armed to the teeth, were not robbers, as their intention was to kill and not to rob.

His account of the incident contradicted the earlier position of the Federal Government which linked the incident to armed robbery before later labeling the perpetrators as armed gang.

Another survivor and driver of the deceased, Tayo Ogundare, said the attackers, who were masked, shot sporadically at their vehicle, aiming to stop them and other vehicles from escaping from the scene.

He said he had to maneuver the vehicle and reverse in a bid to escape from the attack which occupied just after the Ore Toll Gate, saying the gunmen kept shooting at their car till he and others managed to escape into the bush.

He, however, said the deceased was unlucky as she was hit by the bullets and died at a hospital due to gunshot injuries.

He explained that apart from him and the deceased, other domestic staff of Olakunrin, including the housemaid, Vivian Justice, and a member of the family of the deceased, Boluwaji Iwajomo, were also in the vehicle.

She came to bid me farewell at 9am; by evening, she was no more —Pa Fasoranti

Bereaved father of the deceased, Pa Fasoranti, recounted his last moments with his slain daughter to newsmen in Akure, on Saturday.

The 94-year-old father said she saw his daughter last on Friday morning when she came to bid him farewell.

Fasoranti said “she came to me around 9:00 am to bid me farewell. I only heard in the evening she is no more.

“The President [Muhammadu Buhari] called me to commiserate with me, but I told him to halt these killings in our land.”

Buhari, Tinubu phone Fasoranti

President Muhammadu Buhari has phoned Pa Fasoranti to condole with the grieving patriarch.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said “The president condoled with the grieving nonagenarian, wishing him the comfort of God, and fortitude to bear the loss.

“He also assured that security agencies would spare no effort to apprehend the culprits, and bring them to justice.

“Pa Fasoranti thanked the president for identifying with him and his family at their time of travail, praying that God will restore peace and amity to the country,” the statement said.

Earlier on Saturday morning, national leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, had called Pa Fasoranti by phone to also commiserate with him.

Tinubu expressed personal loss over the tragedy and prayed to God to comfort Pa Fasoranti and the entire family.

The APC leader said he was sure the Federal Government would do all in its power to fish out the killers and bring them to justice.

The tragedy has continued to draw more condemnation from eminent Nigerians and ethnic groups who warned that the incessant killings could set the country on fire.

Olakunrin’s killing mindless, grossly unacceptable —Yoruba Unity Forum

The Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF), on Saturday, said President Buhari’s “continued emotional attachment to his folks-the Fulanis-” to the detriment of those from other parts of the country was capable of setting the country on fire if not checked.

YUF stated this in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr Lanre Ogundipe, while reacting to the Killing of Mrs Olakunrin by suspected herdsmen.

“The Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF) received with shock, sadness and trepidation, the news of the unfortunate killing of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Yoruba statesman and Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, by suspected Fulani herdsmen, at Ore junction, on her way from Akure.

“While YUF commiserates with the reverred Yoruba elder, his family, both nuclear and extended, and indeed all of Yorubaland, 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.

“We know for a fact that the Buhari government’s kid-gloves treatment of the murderous excesses of these herdsmen 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.

“Again, we’re alarmed by the claim that Mrs Olakunrin’s killing was a failed armed robbery attack, for we’re yet to see where armed robbers, whose primary motive is to dispossess victims of their belongings, will kidnap or riddle the same victim’s car with bullets. YUF finds this claim spineless, and absolutely ill thought.

“YUF feels, 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.

“Whether in the attempt to establish a grazing reserve, cattle ranches, cattle colonies, special radio station, or the current RUGA that was hastily suspended, President Buhari has left no one in doubt of his morbid agenda to Fulanise the whole country, continuing where his ancestor, Uthman Dan Fodio, left off.

“As a Yoruba nation, we’re deeply saddened by this killing, and many that have become daily occurrences as a result of the Buhari government’s gross ineptitude, and blatant bias towards the Fulanis, noting that this may eventually lead to the destruction of Nigeria;

“Conclusively, YUF reiterates its call for the total restructuring of the country, as that in our well informed opinion, is the panacea to the myriads of problems confronting a disjointed and faulty union like Nigeria’s.

“Failure to adhere restructuring principles – ‘Without immmediate restructuring along the lines of the 2014 National Conference Resolutions, the continued existence of Nigeria as one country is very much open to doubt,’ YUF said in the statement.

Bring culprits to book, Jonathan tells Buhari

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has describing the killing of Pa Fasoranti’s daughter as shocking and called on the authorities to bring the culprits to book.

A statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by Ikechukwu Eze, media adviser to Jonathan, quoted the former president as saying “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,” he said.

Her murder dimishes Nigeria —Obasanjo

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on Saturday, said the killing of Mrs Olakunrin was a pointer to the fact that the country is diminished.

Obasanjo in a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, said the killing by supected Fulani herdsmen was a worrisome development in the polity, especially, at a time when “all well-meaning Nigerians are preaching tolerance and political accommodation in national politics.”

The former president, in a condolence message to the nonagenarian, tasked the security agents to fish out those responsible for “the heinous crime.”

“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,” he said.

The former President said his condolence letter would be delivered by a former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Chief Oluwole Fasawe to Fasoranti in Akure, because of his engagement in Morocco.

“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.

“Because I have to be in Morocco, I am sending a delegation of Chief Oluwole Fasawe and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola with this letter and to personally deliver my condolence,” he stated.

Adebanjo weeps, condemns FG’s silence on killings

Elder statesman and Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, on Saturday, betrayed emotions as he wept over the tragedy when he led other leaders of the group on a condolence visit to Pa Fasoranti in AKure.

Adebanjo, while speaking with newsmen, condemned the silence of the Federal Government over the continued killing by Fulani herdsmen, despite all the outcry against the development from Nigerians across the country.

He decried a situation where a supposed federal state was being run in a unitary structure and lamented that governors, who are said to be chief security officers of their various states, had no authority to give instructions to the Commissioners of Police in a critical security situation.

He enumerated what he called “several murderous activities of the Fulani militia” which he said started with the killing of 800 Christians in southern Kaduna, noting that just as Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo deployed military personnel to the area, another incident happened in the same place.

He said the incident corroborated the view expressed by Lieutenant General T .Y Danjuma that the Federal Government and the Presidency were part of the complexity of Fulani militia.

According to him, other incidents included massacre in Agatu and other parts of Benue and now the present killing in the South-West, a development he described “as an arrow to the soul of Yoruba people.”

He called on the South-West governors to fight for the people of the region who elected them, urging them not to forget they were supposed to defend their people and not keep quiet because of political alliance.

“For one reason or the other, they can’t talk. They are in an alliance and their people are being killed, kidnapped, raped, maimed and they keep quiet. Don’t worry, God is in control,’’ he said.

According to him, “the security of the country is in the hands of a particular section of the country and what that is telling us is: ‘To thy Tent, O Israel.’”

He prayed to God to give Pa Fasoranti and the entire family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

South-West must end political division to resist attack —Akinyemi

A former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, has joined his voice in condemning the killing, describing the incident as “a tragedy of enormous proportion visited on Yoruba race as its modern day Moremi’s life was terminated while on her way to her state of origin.”

Akinyemi said: “This is a tragedy of enormous proportion. It is a tragedy visited on Yoruba race. Our own mother, Moremi, has been sacrificed. The whole of Yoruba race is in mourning.”

Speaking on solution to the insecurity situation, Akinyemi said there was the need for Yoruba nation to bridge the political divides to enable them build formidable resistance against those prowling their land, declaring that what had just been witnessed in recent attack was an abomination.

“I think when murders and assassinations are visited on a race, political divisions must stop and people should unite in resistance. That’s all. Aabo oro la nso fun Omoluwabi, to ba denu e a d’odidi, meaning, half statement is enough for the wise. He who has ears, let him hear. It’s an abomination,” the firmer minister said.

Sympathisers have been thronging the home of the leader of pan Yoruba socio political group, Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, to commiserate with him over the killing of her daughter.

Speaking during his visit, Ondo State governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, described the murder as an ugly incident, stressing that it is one death too many.

Akeredolu, who cut short his trip to Lagos State so as to condole with Pa Fasoranti, was accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Chief Gbenga Ale, chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Ade Adetimehin and other members of the state Executive Council.

Akeredolu, who expressed his worry over the incident, said that some measures must be taken to prevent future occurrence and promised that government would brief the media about the steps and measures to be taken very soon.

He said “All of us are worried and there are some measures that have to be taken and we must prevent this.

“We must take whatever steps we want to take to tackle this issue of insecurity in order not to allow this happen again. It is a personal loss to all of us. For now, it is like we are mourning a relative that has just passed on,” he said

Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, also described the killing of Olakunrin as a tragic loss not only to the family of the Fasorantis but to the Yoruba nation and the country as a whole.

He said that the Federal Government would be beckoned upon to do something very urgent about the insecurity challenges in the country.

“I know Mrs Olakunrin very well. As a matter of fact, she was with me three days ago before heading back to Lagos. So, it is a personal loss and tragic situation for us and we all owe a duty to tackle this issue head long in order to rescue our people from this situation,” he said.

Also, the former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, said the killing of Olakunrin was a wake-up call to government at all levels on the need to confront the challenge of insecurity in the country.

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Mimiko said “This is despicably disturbing and this is another very challenging situation in our country. We must collectively rise to this challenge

“It a general problem of the security challenge that we have in this country. I think this is another very challenge that we must collectively rise

“I have doubt in my mind that incident like this would task the very fabric of our nation and would also require very profound political will.

“We must leverage on technology and we must definitely get to the root of this matter in the interest of our nation and in the interest of the economy,” he said.

Youth protest killing in Akure, threaten mass action

Youth from Akure took to the streets protesting the killing of Mrs Olakunrin, calling on the state government to put an end to the killings by the Fulani herdsmen.

The youth threatened to take law into their hands if the state government failed to take drastic step to curb the activities of the herdsmen in the state.

They called on the state governor, to call the Fulani to order to prevent ethnic war in the state if the kidnapping was not checked in the state.

All the heads of security agencies in the state paid a condolence visit to the leader of Afenifere, with a promise to bring the perpetrators of the crime to book.

Pa Fasoranti’s daughter’s killing barbaric—PANDEF

The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has condemned the Friday’s killing of Mrs Olakunrin, describing it as barbaric and callous.

In a statement by its national secretary, Dr Alfred Mulade, the group expressed sadness at the killing of the 58-year-old by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

“It is a matter of grave concern that, the ultimatum issued by certain unknown quantities of Northern extraction with intent to compel the Federal Government to implement RUGA in Southern Nigeria, is tantamount to a treasonable felony, and an attempt to break up the country.

“While we condole with the family of Pa Fasoranti, the Afenifere, and indeed, the entire South-West, PANDEF shall continue to urge and mobilise a sustained mass resistance against these enemies of Nigeria, who manifest their evil handiwork in several forms, including, Fulani herdsmen, RUGA settlement policy, radio frequency for herdsmen, banditry, kidnapping and killings. Enough is enough!” Mulade stated.

Don’t blame us when we react, Gani Adams declares

Chief Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, on Saturday, described the incident as one too many by Fulanis whom he said have invaded the South-West in their numbers and perpetrating atrocities.

Adams, who is also the leader of Oodua People’s Congress(OPC), said this in a statement made available by his Media Assistant, Kehinde Aderemi.

Adams, while expressing his sadness on the incident, said the Yoruba race was not at a loss as to what to do to put a complete stop to the atrocities of the herdsmen, but had continuously issued statements so as to call the attention of the entire world to the development in the peaceful South-West.

This was just as he declared that the Yoruba people were not paper tigers and dogs who can only bark without biting.

“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 on how to stop this criminality on our land.

“It is just so that we should not be blamed when the reaction comes. We are like the proverbial goat that is being chased. When it gets to the wall, it will certainly react. We are at that stage now,” the Aare Ona Kakanfo warned.

Speaking further, Adams said the Yoruba race had been met over a period of three weeks on the security threat to the people, calling on governors of the South-West states to ensure the conclusion of the Security Summit process.

He urged all traditional rulers to take bold steps to stamp out killings by herdsmen in their domains.

According to him, there ought to 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.

While commiserating with Pa Fasoranti, he prayed to God to comfort him and his entire household, even as he declared that justice would certainly come “after this very trying time.”

“Papa, this is a very trying time. But it is certain justice will come,” he said.

We shouldn’t ethnicise it —Balarabe Musa

A former governor of Kaduna State in the Second Republic, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, called on leaders across the country to see insecurity as a national predicament that they should all speak against and collectively put those in charge of the country security apparatus on their toes.

“It is distressing. No one is safe in this country. Even a relation of President Muhammadu Buhari was kidnapped in Katsina and was recently rescued in Kano.

“Let everybody in this country, from bottom up, talk. Everybody should be concerned. I sympathise with the family. Every Nigerian is now at the mercy of kidnappers,” he said.

Herdsmen’s provocation becoming difficult to handle — Okorie, UPP

National chairman of the United Progressives Party, Chief Chekwas Okorie, described the murder of Mrs Olakunrin as provocation taken too far by the suspected herdsmen.

He called on relevant security agencies to take firm action to get the culprits behind the killing in order to placate the Yoruba nation.

“It is very disturbing. It has now happened to the daughter of a highly respected Yoruba leader. For his daughter to be a victim, they [the herdsmen] have touched on a very wrong nerve.

“The culprits should be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law before this provocation becomes too difficult to handle,” Okorie said.

ARG demands action over insecurity

Afenifere Renewal Group, on Saturday, condemned the murder of Mrs Olakunrin, calling it a “colossal loss” and part of a grand plan to break the soul of the Yorubaland.

The national chairman of ARG, Wale Oshun, said the loss “is a burden too heavy and a steep price to pay for steadfastly serving this nation and our people.”

He said Olakunrin’s killing “at the hands of these savage herdsmen” was part of “a grand plan to break the soul of Yorubaland and set the roof on fire.”

“But the fire this time will consume the perpetrators and their collaborators,” ARG said in the statement.

ARG challenged the Yoruba governors and the sociopolitical leadership to rise up to the occasion, “as it would now seem that the central government and its clinging to central policing has failed woefully in providing Nigerians the needed security. “

The group reminded the South-West governors that they would be held responsible, individually and collectively, “should they fail to prioritise and support one another in securing their people,” adding that the time to act is now.

Killing capable of foisting civil strife on Nigeria —PRONACO, Project Nigeria

Eminent leaders under the aegis of Pro National Conference Organisations (PRONACO) and the Project Nigeria Movement (PNM) led by Profesor Ben Nwabueze (SAN) have described the murder of Mrs Olakunrin as wicked and ungodly.

The groups said the development was capable of aggravating the already tensed situation in the South-West and “foist unwanted civil strife on the country.”

“We, therefore, wish to strongly call on President Muhammadu Buhari, chairman of the Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), 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 South-West by armed Fulani robbers and bandits.

“The joint national secretariat of Project Nigeria Movement and PRONACO, however, wish to use this unfortunate occasion to put all its allied eminent national leaders, statesmen and arrow heads of nationality and self determination groups on notice about a possible emergency political convergence next week to address the tensed situation created by menacing and marauding armed Fulani bandits in the country,” the bodies said in a statement signed by its joint spokesperson, Olawale Okunniyi.

Killers will be found and brought to book, IGP assures

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu has assured Nigerians that the killers of Mrs Funke Olakunrin will be found and made to face the full weight of the law.

The IGP said 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.

“While condemning the heinous and barbaric crime, the IGP, as part of measures to prevent a future occurrence of such incident, has ordered the total overhaul of security architecture on the highways straddling the Southern part of the country,” the IGP said in a statement signed by the Force spokesperson, DCP Frank Mba.

“In this vein, 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 had 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,” the statement said.

Yoruba may be forced to adopt communal security approach-Ooni

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on Saturday, described the development as disgusting and condemnable.

He declared that Yoruba might be forced to adopt communal security approach to tackle growing insecurity and killings should the Federal Government fail to do the needful to ensure safety of lives and properties in the South-West.

A statement by Oba Ogunwusi’s director of media and public affairs, Moses Olafare, said the Ooni expressed dissatisfaction about the insecurity in the country and called on President Buhari to urgently put an end to the incessant kidnapping and killings.

“Securing lives and properties of Nigerians is the primary responsibility of the government. What is happening to us in Yorubaland at the moment, if not urgently curtailed by the government, may force our people to come with a communal security approach which may not augur well for the unity of this country we have always laboured for.

“This is a disgusting payback to a man like Pa Fasoranti who has lived his life for the stability of this country. It is a height of terrorism which is highly condemnable. Regardless of the tribes involved, no one deserves to be killed.

“It is sad to realise that Nigeria that used to be safe and conducive for all forms of legitimate activities has been reduced to an insecure entity where innocent citizens now lose their lives and properties to some faceless miscreants on daily basis.

“This sad development is a wake-up call on the President Buhari-led Federal Government, particularly to be ruthless in the fight against terrorism in any form in order to restore the peace and sanity of the country so that our people will not be compelled to take the law into their own hands,” Ooni said.

I sympatise with Fasoranti —Yakassai

ALHAJI Tanko Yakassai, former special adviser on National Assembly Matters to former president, Late Shehu Shagari, has said the killing of Fasoranti’s daughter is an irreparable loss.

“There were conflicting reports over the death. One report said she was allegedly killed by gunmen, another one said it was by Fulani herdsmen.

“Therefore, before I give my own comment, I want to get the true picture of the sad incident. However, what I can say for now is to sympathise with the elder statesman over the gruesome killing of his daughter,” he said.

Oyetola condemns killing Osun State governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Saturday, described the killing of Mrs Olakunri as a dastardly act that should be probed.

According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Adeniyi Adesina, Governor Oyetola, who expressed shock, condemned the killing, called on security agents not to leave any stone unturned in the probe to ensure that the killers are nabbed and brought to justice.

“This should not be another case of unresolved murder. All efforts should be made to get to the root of this,” Governor Oyetola said.

He condoled with Pa Fasoranti and Ondo State governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, over the death.

PDP condemns killing of Afenifere leader’s daughter

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned “in totality” the killing, lamenting what it called “unpardonable lethargy” in apprehending the killers since Friday.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by Kola Ologbondiyan, national Publicity Secretary, the party said it was “heartrending that under the President Buhari administration, our nation has 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.”

It said it was worried that security agencies were 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.

Killing shocking loss to me- Omisore

Senator Iyiola Omisore has also condemned the killing of Mrs Olakunrin, calling it a “dastardly act” and tasking security agencies to initiate speedy investigation and apprehend the killers.

In a statement, the former Osun State deputy governor said “It is a personal loss to me not just because she is the daughter of our revered leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti. I have known Funmi for years. She is very cerebral, industrious and full of life.

“In this moment of grief, I commiserate with Pa Fasoranti and the family, Afenifere, Ondo State Government and Nigeria while praying to God to grant succour and comfort to the family at this trying time,” he said.

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