Police Operatives have arrested the killers of Funke Olakunrin, daughter of the leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasorantin.
This was contained in a statement on Thursday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Deputy Commissioner of Police Frank Mba.
Mba gave the details of the suspects as Lawal Mazaje, 40, from Felele area of Kogi State; Adamu Adamu, 50, from Jada area of Adamawa State; Mohammed Shehu Usman, 26, from Illela area of Sokoto State; and Auwal Abubakar, 25, from Shinkafi area of Zamfara State.
Recall that on July 13, 2019, following the attack and murder of Olakunrin between Kajola and Ore along the Ondo-Ore Road in Ondo State on July 12, 2019, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, deployed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Fimihan Adeoye, to coordinate the team of Police Special Forces and seasoned investigators from the Force Criminal Investigations Department, Federal SARS, Intelligence Response Team and the Technical Intelligence Unit from the Force Headquarters, Abuja to carry out massive manhunt for the killers with the aim of arresting and bringing them to justice.
After months of relentless efforts to apprehend the killers, Mba said, the Police Team, on March 4, 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 Abubakar, an accessory after the fact of the crime, along the Sagamu-Ore Expressway in Ondo State.
The arrest of Abubakar led to the arrest of two other members of the gang: Usman and Mazaje, in Benin, Edo State, from whom cache of ammunition was recovered and then that of Adamu followed in Akure, Ondo State.
Mba said having established sufficient physical and forensic evidence linking the suspects to the killing of Olakunrin, the investigators, determined to clear all doubts relating to their findings, April 8, 2020, conducted an Identification Parade at the Federal SARS Headquarters, Lagos, which led to the positive and physical identification of three of the suspects: Adamu, Mazaje and 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 Olakunrin was killed.
Mba said investigations so far revealed that the operation that led to the killing was carried out by eight fully armed kidnap/robbery suspects led by one Tambaya (other name unknown), who is currently at large.
While four of the suspects (mentioned above) are in custody, effort is being intensified to arrest the four others still on the run.
The eight-man gang had their operational base and membership spread in the South West part of the country and Edo State.
Mba said investigations have also revealed that they are responsible for series of high-profile armed robbery and kidnap operations in the region.
They also attack, vandalise and steal components of critical national infrastructures such as electrical and telecommunications installations.
Mba added: “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.”
Mba said IGP Adamu appreciated Nigerians for the patience and support to the Police throughout the period of the investigation into the unfortunate incident, adding: “He assures that the suspects will be diligently prosecuted on completion of investigations and that the Force will not relent until every member of the gang, still at large, is arrested and brought to book.”