The killing of Mrs Olakunri

ON Monday July 22, the remains of Mrs Olufunke Olakunri, daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, leader of the pan-Yoruba organisation, Afenifere, were interred in Akure, the Ondo State capital, amidst anger and frustration. The tragedy is emblematic of the scary scenario that has pervaded the Nigerian landscape for years now. The authorities appear overwhelmed and helpless as criminals operate with ruthless abandon. There is hardly a day that the kind of savagery epitomised by the gruesome killing of Mrs Olakunri  is not recorded across the country. Killer herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers shed blood without let. The outrage elicited by the murder of Mrs Olakunri underscores the frightening dimension of the  country’s apparent descent into anarchy. It naturally provoked more attention because of the profile of the deceased.

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It is distressing that Mrs Olakunri had to pay the ultimate price for the government’s failure. Her death should draw the nation’s attention to the laxity, if not total collapse, of the security architecture. The security apparatus appears to be in a state of anomie and the government is rudderless and in a dilemma over what should be the appropriate strategies to tame the mindless killings and other heinous crimes. No doubt, this is a national emergency which demands anything but the government’s lethargy and laissez faire attitude. Why should Nigeria become a mourning yard? When will those saddled with guaranteeing the sanctity of lives live up to their oath of office? Apparently, the government is bereft of ideas on how to address the worsening insecurity in the land, otherwise it would have realised that the prevalent atmosphere of uncertainty and fear goes beyond deploying soldiers in roads across the country.

The situation requires thinking outside the box on how to deploy technology to fight crime. Even the advanced countries, including the United States and the Western nations, are not insulated from crime, but they have keyed into technology and cut down significantly on the kinds of crimes that have made nonsense of life and living in Nigeria today. As we urged in previous editorials, the security agencies should deploy drones and smoke out the criminals from their hideouts, including forest reserves across the country. Taking the battle to the criminals in their bases should not pose a serious problem to the government. The United States has larger forest reserves than Nigeria’s but it is not harbouring killers in them. It is indeed an understatement to say that nowhere is safe in the country now. Bandits and other hardened criminals have seized the highways and farmlands, smoking life out of citizens at will. They have thrown a blanket of fear on the people and have consistently dared state actors, thereby making the country almost ungovernable.

We share in the grief of the Fasorantis and Nigerians in general. It is unfortunate that Pa Fasoranti is being made to go through the current mental torture and trauma in his old age after spending almost his entire adult life fighting for a better Nigeria. He deserves all the honour and privileges of a consummate patriot and not the agony afflicted by a band of killers whose mission seems to be to place the country permanently in a state of terror. To say the least, the security structure requires a surgical operation if Nigeria must overcome the worsening security challenges. Sadly, though, the government lacks the necessary vision and tactics to tame the situation, hence its constant resort to denial of facts. Nigerians asking for an overhaul of the security network cannot be wrong in the face of the pervasive lawlessness in the land. Hope has waned because of the government’s failure to rescue the country from gruesome killings.

The government must expeditiously fish out the killers of Mrs Olakunri and bring them to justice. Anything short of this will further aggravate the mutual suspicion and distrust in the country.