The Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has expressed concerns over the ability of the police to dislodge bandits, whose operational bases are established in Edo and the south west states, as revealed by the police headquarters on Thursday.
Following the arrest of the suspected kidnappers and armed robbers alleged to have been involved in the killing of Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere leader, Reuben Fasoranti, the police said they believed the attackers, linked to armed robbery, kidnapping and vandalism, have their operational bases across the south west and Edo states.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, on Thursday, announced that four of the suspects who carried out the killing of the Mrs Olakunrin had been apprehended while four others were still at large.
Mrs Olakunrin died of gunshot wounds in July 2019 after her vehicle was attacked by armed men, suspected to marauding Fulani bandits whose violent activities had reached a frightening level across the south west states.
The murder sparked nationwide outrage, especially in the south west, which also inspired the discussion on the need for a regional security within the region.
The police’s announcement also rested the controversy over a week ago between Afenifere and the police in Ondo State on whether the suspects had been arrested or not.
Those arrested suspects include Lawal Mazaje, 40, from Felele area of Kogi State; Adamu Adamu, 50, from Jada area of Adamawa State; Mohammed Usman, 26, from Illela area of Sokoto State and Auwal Abubakar, 25, from Shinkafi area of Zamfara State.
However, the leader of the team, identified only as Tambaya, and three others are yet to be found.
Tambaya has been declared wanted by the police and he is said to be capable of communicating in Hausa, Fulfude and Pidgin English.
He is also described as fair in complexion and suspected to be between 27 and 30 years of age. He was last known to be in Isanlu, Kogi State, and has a visible scar from stitches on his forehead down to his nose and mouth.
The spokesman for Afenifere, Yinka Odumaki, in a telephone chat with PREMIUM TIMES, said Afenifere would wait for the investigations of the murder that would lead to the prosecution of the alleged killers.
“Because father, a 94-year-old man and the children, are still in pains over the unfortunate murder of their mother, so now that we have some suspects, we will allow the police to do their work within a reasonable time that will lead to the detailed prosecution of those who have been accused of the heinous crime,” he said.
On the revelation that the bandits have their operational basis in the south west region and in Edo State, Mr Odumakin said the development confirmed all the group had been saying all the while.
“We have been saying all along that we have been surrounded by these criminals,” he said.
“And when this happened the police in Ore told the junior brother, Kehinde Fasoranti, that these people are Fulanis and we said so, that these are the identities of those who killed her.
“But Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu said ‘where are the cows.’ But now we have seen the cows. They have been troubling the southwest, Edo and Delta, so their identities have revealed what we know.”
On what they police should do to ensure the criminals are not allowed to operate freely in the areas mentioned, Mr Odumankin noted that the police knew where the criminals were, but lacked the necessary will to do the work.
“Clearly, they know where the criminals are, but they have often been shy of going after them or dealing with them because these criminals have sectional sympathies at the highest level in the land and that is the problem of the police,” he said.
“Ideally, we would have said they should go after them, but we know what is happening in our country now.”
On Amotekun, the Afenifere spokesman said it was necessary that the state governors should ensure that the security outfit takes off without delay.
“Amotekun is one of the things that came out of Funke Olakunrin’s death and the governors should not allow it to go under,” he said.
“They must do what they need to do to make sure that it is up. The governors should do what they needed to do.”
Tee Leo-Ikoro, the Ondo State Police Public Relations Officer, had been in the heat of the arguments of the veracity of the information recently on the arrest of the suspects.
He had denied that the police had arrested the suspects when it was first rumoured and had explained that some persons had been arrested but further investigations would be necessary to ascertain if they were involved in the killing of Mrs Olakunrin or not.
He told PREMIUM TIMES that despite the fact that the criminals claimed they had operational bases in the region, efforts would be made to ensure they were not allowed operate.
“The crime rate in Ondo State is the lowest in the country, which shows that here their base will not be allowed,” Mr Leo-Ikoro said.
“The police here is proactive. However, there is enough policemen in the south west to deal with the situation. Now that this revelation is coming, the police in the region will have to raise their level of vigilance and preparedness to deal with the situation.
“We are going to put in more effort to ensure there would nothing to worry about.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...