By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon, Ola Ajayi, Daud Olatunji, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Luminous Jannamike & Shina Abubakar
FOLLOWING the killing of Mrs. Funke Olakunri, daughter of the leader of pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti by suspected herdsmen on the Ore-Akure expressway last Friday, some Yoruba leaders said yesterday, that herdsmen have declared war against the South West.
Expressing their displeasure over the killing of Mrs. Olakunri and other acts of banditry in the South West, the Yoruba leaders said they should not be taken as cowards.
We’re not cowards — Okurounmu
An Afenifere chieftain, Senator Femi Okurounmu who condemned the dastardly act, described the murder as a declaration of war against the Yoruba.
Senator Okunrounmu said: “I am sure that the Yoruba are not cowards hence, they should fight back.
“I feel very bitter and very angry and feel like finally the herdsmen have declared war against the Yorubaland. Yes, it is nothing cut short of a declaration of war.
“We have always known that we, Yoruba, are not cowards and this is the time to demonstrate that truly we are not cowards and as a result, I expect a strong reaction from the Yoruba people because this is not something we should just follow-up with just condemnation and recriminations. Enough of that, it is a time to react and show that enough is enough.”
We’re struggling with herdsmen invasion — YCE
Flaying the murder, President of the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, Col. Dansaaki Agbede (retd) sympathised with Chief Fasoranti saying: “It is sad that now we are struggling with the invasion of the Fulani herders, this kind of thing happened.”
Agbede said: “It is time that we, as a Yoruba nation, use our combined efforts, commitment and unity to fight this.
“We should not wait until we face this terrible challenge.”
It’s a clear signal of war — NANS
Also condemning the act, the National Publicity Secretary of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Mr. Azeez Adeyemi said it was a clear signal of war.
Adeyemi said: “As much as I don’t want to speak tribalistically and get carried away as a Yoruba person, rather I will be speaking on behalf of the entire Nigerian students, the fact remains that the act is highly condemnable, it is a clear signal of war which ordinarily one would have expected the Presidency to have taken a immediate action against.
“For crying out loud, the herdsmen have successfully established themselves as a terrorist group, with no respect for the rule of law, hiding under the belief of being the President eye. This is a challenge to call for war.”
We must collectively rise to this challenge — Mimiko
While paying a condolence visit to Pa Fasoranti, a former governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko said: “This is despicably disturbing and this 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 no doubt in my mind that incident like this would task the very fabric of our nation and would also require very profound political will.”
ARG demands appropriate action
On its part, the Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, which condemned the murder, in a statement signed by its National Chairman, Mr. Olawale Oshun said: “The ARG share in this colossal loss and condole with the bereaved family, especially Pa Fasoranti and Mrs. Olakunrin’s nucleus family.”
The statement reads: “This loss is a burden too heavy and a steep price to pay for steadfastly serving this nation and our people.
“Mrs. Olakunri’s death at the hands of these savage herdsmen could not but have been 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, therefore, challenges the Yoruba governors and the socio-political leadership to rise up to the occasion, as it would now seem that the Federal government and its clinging to central policing has failed woefully in providing Nigerians the needed security.
“Our governors must realise that they shall be held responsible, individually and collectively, should they fail to prioritise and support one another in securing their people. The time to act is now.”
Yoruba shouldn’t sleep with their eyes closed — Akinfenwa
Also reacting to the killing, Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa said if the herders could commit such heinous thing against Chief Fasoranti, it means other Yoruba people should not sleep with their eyes closed.
Akinfenwa said: “It is a sad thing because Chief Fasoranti doesn’t deserve that kind of treatment. If it is truly by Fulani herders, I would say it is a greatest kind of provocation. If something like that could be done to a Yoruba leader, then other Yoruba leaders should think twice. If is done to somebody we look up to as a father, what then happens to the rest of us.”
We’re left on our own— S’West PDP
National Vice Chairman of PDP South West, Dr Eddy Olafeso, in his reaction, said: “The death of Funke Olakunrin is a serious blow to the region, it is so unfortunate that we have a government that is not protecting its citizens, we have been left on our own and the south west is the battle ground now and every son and daughter of Yoruba land must rise to this
“It was Olu Falae at a time and now Fasoranti, who is next? It is high time the Yoruba nation take action, it is so painful and felt sad this is happening to our country.”
It’s a personal loss — Fayemi, Akeredolu
Meanwhile, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State 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.
Speaking with newsmen after visiting the leader of the Afenifere at his Ijapo residence, Governor Fayemi said that the federal government would be beckon upon to do something very urgent about the insecurity challenges in the country.
“I know Mrs. Olakunri very well. As a matter of fact, she was with me few days ago before heading back to Lagos.
“So, it is a personal loss and tragic situation for us and we all own a duty to tackle this issue head long in order to rescue our people from this situation.”
Also, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, who cut short his trip to Lagos State to visit the father of the deceased with other members of the state Executive Council and House of Assembly members said: “All of us are worried and there are some measures that have to be taken and we must prevent this.”
The governor said: “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.”
CAN mourns with Fasoranti
Manwhile, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, yesterday, commiserated with the leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, over the brutal murder of his daughter, Mrs. Funke Olakunri, by suspected kidnappers.
In a statement by CAN President, Revd Samson Ayokunle, the umbrella Christian body condemned the killing in strong terms and charged the government to step up the security system in the country.
Ayokunle said: “The criminality in the country is condemnable, reprehensible and unacceptable act. The killings have become too alarming that no explanation from the government can justify.
“Is the government totally overwhelmed? What is the essence of government? Is it not first of all to protect lives and properties?
“The stories we are hearing are neither exaggerated nor politicized. This killing is a big dent on the government of the day. Today, it is Mrs. Olakunrin, no one knows who the next person could be.
“We are seriously concerned and are weeping for our beloved country Nigeria. Why have things become like this? The bad image these acts are giving us as a nation daily is bad and totally shameful. Can’t the government act better for us?
“Once again, we call on the Federal government to overhaul the security architecture of the country which appears to have collapsed.
“Nowhere is safe again due to the criminal activities of men of the underworld who are manifesting as terrorists, killer herdsmen, kidnappers, ritual killers, armed bandits, religious fundamentalists (Boko Haram) and armed robbers.
“We call on the Police and other security agencies to wake up from their slumber and fish out those responsible for this crime and other killings in the country.”