THE killing of Mrs. Funke Olakunri, daughter of the leader of Afenifere Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, on Friday, July 12, 2019 on a highway in Ondo State by suspected herdsmen has shaken the country to its foundation.
Eyewitness accounts had it that the assailants carrying assault rifles emerged from the bush and started shooting indiscriminately and caught the 58-year-old lady in their crossfire.
Expectedly, a grieving Pa Fasoranti has been host to condolence visitors, including former President Goodluck Jonathan and an All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain, Chief Bola Tinubu, among a host of others. Afenifere and Oódua People’s Congress, OPC, leader, Aare Gani Adams, strongly accused “Fulani herdsmen” of culpability in the crime and threatened dire consequences.
Other fallouts included calls by the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, on Fulani herdsmen in the South to relocate to the North, while Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo advised Igbo people living in the North to consider returning to their homeland in the East. However, President Muhammadu Buhari countered the NEF, asking herdsmen to remain wherever they are as all Nigerians have the right to live in any part of the country.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday, July 15, 2019, issued one of his now-famous open letters to President Buhari. This time, the tone was totally sober, statesmanly and devoid of politics and sabre-rattling. He called on Buhari to do everything in his powers to bring the country back from the brink of disaster by addressing the security problem, especially those being perpetrated by armed terrorists hiding in our bushes.
Buhari shrugged off Obasanjo’s letter, insisting that kidnapping and killings are happening all over the world, and that critics of his government over “isolated” cases of insecurity are not patriotic.
We are deeply worried over the President’s dismissal of the dangers facing the country as a result of insecurity with the wave of hand. It does not suggest an appropriate grasp of the risks the country faces as a result of such a high profile, politically-sensitive killing as that of Mrs. Olakunri.
We wish to remind the President and the APC Federal Government that it was the assassinations of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, and the shooting down of the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart, President Cyprien Ntaryamira on April 6, 1994, that sparked of the First World War and the Rwandan/Burundian genocides respectively.
Nigeria has experienced pogroms, ethnic killings, communal violence, religious wars, a civil war, Boko Haram terror and other forms of bloodletting because leaders failed to lead when the occasion beckoned on them to do so.
President Buhari must lead the effort to end all forms of insecurity and the steady drift towards a violent disintegration of Nigeria.