© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
9 months after, police arrests suspected killers of late Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Yoruba chieftain
NIGERIA Police on Thursday, says it has arrested suspected killers of late Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasorantin, who was killed in July 2019 by armed men along Ondo-Ore road, Ondo State.
The arrest was effected nine months after the incident.
According to the police, the operation which led to the death of Olakunrin was carried out by an eight-man gang, headed by one Tambaya, currently at large.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, who confirmed the arrest in a statement issued by the Force Spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Frank Mba identified the suspects as Lawal Mazaje ‘m’ 40yrs from Felele area in Kogi State, Adamu Adamu ‘m’ 50yrs from Jada area of Adamawa State, Mohammed Shehu Usman ‘m’ 26 years from Illela area of Sokoto State and Auwal Abubakar ‘m’ 25yrs from Shinkafi area of Zamfara State.
It explained that the arrest of one of the gang members, Auwal Abubakar after a high-profile armed robbery and kidnap in Ogun state, led to the arrest of others in Edo and Ondo states respectively.
“…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,” it stated.
“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.”
It further stated that the survivor had given a clear description of the roles each of the identified suspects played in the killing of Olakunrin, which subsequently caused the suspects to ‘voluntarily offered a no-holds-barred confession’ on how the deceased was killed.
It could be recalled that Olakunrin was murdered by unknown persons on 12 July, 2019.
On 13 July, the IGP had deployed Fimihan Adeoye, the Commissioner for Police in charge of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), to coordinate the team of Police Special Forces and 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 fish-out Olakunrin’s killers.
The Police emphasised that while four of the suspects mentioned above remained in custody, it is intensifying efforts to arrest the four others who, according to the operatives are still on the run.
“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,” the statement added.
The IGP, however, declared ‘Tambaya’ wanted for his involvement in the death of the deceased.
“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.”
The ICIR further queried Mba to know if the suspects’s confession was not induced by torture since information obtained by coercion or threat is not admissible in law.
Mba dismissed the question, saying the press release was “self-explanatory.”