By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Nigerian Police said its operatives have arrested the killers of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, daughter of the leader of the PAN-Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasorantin.
The police in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by its PRO, Frank Mba, listed the suspects to include;Lawal Mazaje, 40yrs from Felele area of Kogi State; Adamu Adamu, 50yrs from Jada area of Adamawa State.
Others are; Mohammed Shehu Usman, 26 years from Illela area of Sokoto State; Auwal Abubakar, 25yrs from Shinkafi area of Zamfara State.
It recalled that on 13th July, 2019, following the attack and murder of Mrs Funke Olakunrin by unknown persons between Kajola and Ore along Ondo-Ore road in Ondo State on 12th July, 2019, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Muhammed Adamu, deployed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), CP Fimihan Adeoye, to coordinate the team of Police Special Forces and seasoned investigators from the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Federal SARS, Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and the Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU) from the Force Headquarters, Abuja to carry out massive manhunt for the killers with the aim of arresting and bringing them to justice.
“Meanwhile, after months of relentless efforts to apprehend the killers, the Police Team, on 4th March, 2020 during a follow-up action on a case of a high-profile armed robbery and kidnap for ransom that occurred in Ogun State, arrested one Auwal Abubakar ‘m’ 25yrs, an accessory after the fact of the crime, along Sagamu-Ore expressway in Ondo State. The arrest of Auwal Abubakar led to the arrest of two (2) other members of the gang, Mohammed Shehu Usman and Lawal Mazaje in Benin, Edo State from whom 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 8th April, 2020, conducted an Identification Parade at the Federal SARS Headquarters, Lagos which led to the positive and physical identification of three (3) suspects, Adamu Adamu, Lawal Mazaje and Mohammed Shehu Usman by a survivor of the earlier crime. The survivor gave a clear description of the roles each of the identified suspects played in the killing. At this point, the suspects capitulated and voluntarily offered a no-holds-barred confession on how Mrs Funke Olakunrin was killed. “
He said investigations so far revealed that the operation that led to the killing was carried out by eight (8) fully armed kidnap/robbery suspects led by one Tambaya (other name unknown) who is currently at large, adding that four (4) of the suspects (mentioned above) are in custody, effort is being intensified to arrest the four (4) others still on the run.
He said the 8-man gang has their operational base and membership spread in the south-western part of the country and Edo State.
“Investigations have also revealed that they are responsible for series of high-profile armed robbery and kidnap operations in the region. They also attack, vandalize and steal components of critical national infrastructures such as electrical and telecommunications installations.
“Consequently, the Inspector General of Police hereby declares the principal suspect, Tambaya (other names unknown) wanted for his involvement in the death of Mrs Funke Olakunrin. Tambaya, a Nigerian, speaks Hausa, Fulfulde and Pidgin English languages. He is fair in complexion and in his late 20s – between the age of 27 and 30. His last known address is Isanlu, Kogi State. He has visible scar from stitches on his forehead down to his nose and mouth.”