The horrible murder of a couple, Kehinde and Bukola Fatinoye, and their son, Oreoluwa, by yet-to-be-identified assassins at their Ibara, Abeokuta, Ogun State residence on New Year’s Day vividly mirrors man’s degeneracy and echoes Nigeria’s descent into lawlessness.
Media reports on the ghastly midnight incident stated that the assailants slaughtered both the husband and his wife on January 1 at their home shortly after attending a crossover service at the Christ Anglican Church, Iporo-Ake, Abeokuta. The attackers not only murdered them in a most inhuman manner but also set ablaze the remains of Kehinde, who worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria and his wife, Bukola, who was an employee of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
The cruel act escalated in the most vicious manner when the assailants took away the couple’s son, murdered him and threw his corpse into a river in Abeokuta, the state capital. The police recovered his remains three days after the brutal murder of his parents. A brother of the late Kehinde and last born of the family, Oluwaloseyi, said that his slain brother lost his second child, Oluwatunmise, last June when he slumped during a football match in school and died. It is quite pathetic that the incident has wiped out Kehinde’s lineage as Oluwaloseyi revealed that his brother had no other children.
This abhorrent incident must not go unsolved. The police need to urgently go into the root of the matter and unravel the mystery surrounding the killings. If the puzzle which the case has snowballed into is not immediately resolved and justice served to the Fatinoyes, it will make assassination easier not only in the state but the country in general and embolden aspiring criminals to engage in such acts unchecked.
The police must swiftly gather intelligence and use forensic technologies to investigate and unearth facts or evidence related to the distressing matter. Reports that the only suspect in the case escaped from police custody are indeed a troubling development. All the police officers associated with his escape must answer for their dereliction. The police should restore confidence of the populace and family by using professional crime fighting and investigative tools to get to the heart of this homicide.
The state governor, Dapo Abiodun, also has serious work to do in this case. He must give the necessary support for logistic to the police to speedily determine the case and untie its knotty parts. It is heart-warming that the governor described the incident as unfortunate and heart-breaking, vowing that his administration would not hesitate to deploy resources with a view to unmasking persons behind the dastardly act. It is also a good sign that the governor is aware of the import of apprehending the killers.
Last year during the ‘Ogun, Oyo Joint Security Meeting’ bilateral session organised by both state governments to find solutions to the security challenges in their contiguous states, Abiodun pledged to continue making life unbearable for criminals in the state despite his disclosure that they vowed to come after him because he was making the state intolerable for them.
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He said, “After we launched our OP-MESA last week, I understand that they have been working extremely hard. In fact, what I hear is that those criminals are now saying that Dapo Abiodun is making life unbearable for them and that they are going to come after me. Well, let me assure you that I will continue to make life intolerable and unbearable for you and I’m waiting for you. We will ensure no more hiding places for criminals. I will continue to make life intolerable for them.”
This case is an opportunity for the governor to walk the talk so that criminals in the state will know that his administration has zero tolerance for crime and the state is not a haven for them.
It is crucial to remind the police that every murder case deserves urgency. In January 2010, a governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria in Ogun State 2007 elections, Dipo Dina, suffered assassination. Up till now, there has been no clue regarding the murder and the masterminds are walking the state or country freely without punishment. The police must send a strong message to criminals with the swift resolution of this troubling case to assert that to every crime, there will be commensurate punishment.
It is urgent for the police to reopen and revisit past cases of assassinations in the country and bring them to a closure. From the murders of a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Bola Ige, in December 2001 to that of businessman, and supporter of the National Democratic Coalition, Alfred Rewane, in 1995, no assassination case should be considered too old to reopen. In the same category are the unsolved assassinations of Harry Marshal of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party in 2003 and Harry Dikibo of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2004, Ayo Daramola in Ekiti State (2006), and Funsho Williams in Lagos State (also 2006).
The hallmark of efficient policing is to detect and prevent crime; and prosecute the offenders. In the United Kingdom, the police last November launched a new appeal for information to find the killer of a schoolchild, Kate Bushwell, murdered in November 1997 while walking her neighbour’s dog near her home in Exwick, Devon. The murder triggered the deployment of over 160 detectives to the case in 1997 and more than 5,000 house-to-house interviews conducted, including over 5,000 DNA samples taken from persons in the Exwick and Exeter area.
Regardless of the hearsays or permutations beclouding the Fatinoyes’ case, the police should restore public confidence in their operations by timely exposing the killers.
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