“Nigeria is diminished,” were the heavy words, with which former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, reacted, on Saturday from faraway Morocco, to the killing of the daughter of Afenifere leader, Reuben Fasoranti, Funke Olakunrin, on Friday.
The news of the dastardly incident, was broken by spokesman of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Yinka Odumakin, as he recounted how Olakunri was shot dead on Friday as she travelled along Ondo-Ore Expressway.
Kehinde Fasoranti, the brother of the deceased, gave a more graphic details of the sad incident, after retrieving the corpse of the deceased, when he met with reporters, on Friday evening, describing the incident as an ambush.
He said: “Her vehicle was ambushed around Ore town. The gunmen started shooting at them at the Ore expressway and the driver had to quickly turn back but unknown to him there are some of them in the bush along the other side of the road.
“They shot at the tyres of the SUV she was travelling in along with other persons. There were five people in the car, a driver, herself, a cook and two of her nephews. Sadly, she was hit by a bullet and was rushed to a hospital but she lost too much blood and she died minutes after.
“By the time the police would respond, about 30 minutes later, the gunmen had gone back into the bush. They ran after hearing the sound of the patrol van. Nobody was kidnapped inside her own vehicle.
Obasanjo’s reaction came as President Muhammadu Buhari, who joined in commiserating with the elder statesman, who is still smarting from the death of another daughter recently, said the killers of the deceased were armed robbers, while the police said they were kidnappers.
The former President, who had recently warned about what he called the Islamisation and Fulanisation of Nigeria, for which he was assailed by various stakeholders, including many Yoruba leaders, was palpably beside himself with grief, as he called on Nigerians to rise to stem the tide of brokenness in the country.
In a letter dripping with emotions to the Afenifere leader, made available to the media through his spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi, the former President, who described Nigerian security situation as worrisome, called on security agencies to unravel the crime and bring the culprits to book.
His words: “I received, today, the tragic news of the death of your beloved daughter, Mrs. Funke Olakunri, who was killed by some suspected Fulani herdsmen. This is a worrisome development in our polity, especially, at a time when all well-meaning Nigerians are preaching tolerance and political accommodation in national politics.
“I must say Nigeria as a whole is diminished by the manner of Funke’s death. We deplore this dastardly act and seize this opportunity to call on governments at all levels to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that our security agents vigorously pursue and find the perpetrators of such heinous crime and make them face the full weight of the law.
“We must, together, find solution to all acts of insecurity in the country, particularly acts of banditry, kidnapping, robbery and killing by the suspected Fulani herdsmen.
“As you mourn the tragic loss of our very dear Funke, please be assured of the sympathy and profound sorrow of many others like me who are saddened by the manner of her demise, especially as she still had a lot to contribute to the nation and her family to which she was highly devoted.
“Let me also implore you to be strong for the entire family. I pray that God Himself will comfort you and sustain the whole family in this hour of painful trial. And may the soul of the dear departed rest in perfect peace.
“Because I have to be in Morocco, I am sending a delegation of Otunba Oluwole Fasawe and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola with this letter and to personally deliver my condolence.”