*Late Funke (left), with some of her killers when they were paraded by the police
The killers of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of the leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti have been arrested according to the police in Nigeria. The arrested suspects as disclosed by the police on Thursday (April 16, 2020) include: Lawal Mazaje, 40, from the Felele area of Kogi State; Adamu Adamu, 50, from Jada, Adamawa State; Mohammed Usman, 26, from Illela, Sokoto State; and Auwal Abubakar, 25, an indigene of Shinkafi, Zamfara State.
According to the police, the killing was carried out by eight fully armed suspected robbers led by one Tambaya (other names unknown), who is currently at large bu the police said efforts were being intensified to arrest the four other suspects that are currently on the run. This is coming nine months after Olakunrin was attacked between Kajola and Ore on the Ondo-Ore Road in Ondo State on July 13, 2019, while travelling in a black Toyota Highlander SUV, which we also reported.
After the killing of Mrs. Olakunrin, it would be recalled that her driver was also kidnapped, but later rescued but the gruesome murder of the former lawyer and banker stoked so much tension in the South-West and subsequently hastened the establishment of a regional security outfit codenamed, Amotekun, by governors in the region. Expectedly, the federal government challenged the establishment of the security outfit, but the Youruba nation of south-west Nigeria will not backdown on their resolve to protect themselves since the federal government have lost control of the security in the country to say the least.
Recall that Afenifere spokesperson, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, had on April 7, 2020, said in a statement that four suspects had been arrested in connection with the murder. However, his assertion was refuted by the Ondo State Police Command, which claimed that it was not aware of the development. But confirming the arrest of the suspects in a statement on Thursday, the Force spokesman, Mr. Frank Mba, recalled that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had in the aftermath of the incident directed the Commissioner of Police, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Fimihan Adeoye, to coordinate the team of police special forces and seasoned investigators from the Force Criminal Investigation Department, the Intelligence Response Team and the Technical Intelligence Unit to investigate the murder.
The police spokesperson said after months of relentless efforts, the police team, on March 4, 2020, during a follow-up action on a high-profile armed robbery and kidnap for ransom case that occurred in Ogun State, arrested Abubakar, an accessory after the fact of the crime, along the Sagamu-Ore Expressway in Ondo State. He said, “The arrest of Abubakar led to the arrest of two other members of the gang, Mohammed Usman and Lawal Mazaje, in Benin, Edo State, from whom a cache of ammunition was recovered, and one other, Adamu Adamu, in Akure, Ondo State.
“Having established sufficient physical and forensic evidence linking the suspects to the killing of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, the investigators, determined to clear all doubts relating to their findings, on April 8, 2020, conducted an identification parade at the Federal SARS headquarters, Lagos, which led to the positive and physical identification of Adamu, Mazaje and Usman by a survivor of the earlier crime.”