By Opeyemi Babalola
Many Nigerians including top politicians have reacted and called for the prosecution of the killers of Olajide Sowore, the younger brother of the convener of the #RevolutionNow movement and Sahara Reporters’ Publisher.
University Times International (UTI) gathered that Olajide Sowore, who was a Pharmacy student of Igbinedion University, Okada, was allegedly killed on Saturday along Lagos-Benin Expressway by Isuwa.
The Police Command in the state confirmed that the yet-to-be-identified killers also kidnapped five unknown persons in the process that led to the death of the deceased.
A statement by the police spokesperson in the state, Kontongs Bello, stated thus “This is to confirm to you that suspected kidnappers at about 0645hrs along the Lagos-Benin Expressway by Isuwa, kidnapped five unidentified persons and in the process shot to death one Sowore Felix Olajide, male, a Pharmacy student of Igbinedion University Okada.
“His remains have been deposited at IUTH mortuary Okada, while effort is ongoing to rescue the five kidnap victims. Search and rescue operation is ongoing”.
Reacting to the death of his brother earlier, Omoyele Sowore had described the killers as “herdsmen /kidnappers” who “snuffed out the life of yet another real human being!”
Without a doubt, the late Olajide Sowore, has created an inspiration for aged people who think education at old age is unachievable. He returned to school at a time when many would have completed their program. Despite his old age (almost turning 50), he applied and began studying Pharmacy at the Igbinedion University before death snatched him away.
However, as of the time of filing this report, the school management is yet to say anything about the incident.
Many concerned individuals who reacted attributed the deceased’s brutal killing to the failure of the Nigerian government to tackle the menace of insecurity in the country.
Long time ago, Nigerians have been calling out the federal government to swiftly find lasting solutions that will end the evils being allegedly perpetrated by these herdsmen.
A statement by the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, described Sowore’s death as “one too many of our able-bodied youngsters being killed in their prime.”
The statement, which was signed by the Secretary-General of the group, Sola Ebiseni, recalled that Funke Olakunri, daughter of the leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasonranti, was also killed by herders a few years ago.
“The blood of Olajide unfortunately further adds to those of the hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, killed by the pampered herdsmen,” the group said.
“Their blood is on the neck and hands of this government, crying for justice, further soaking the nation’s flag which drips ceaselessly still with the blood of Nigerians killed by herdsmen and their ethnic militias and those armless youths, who were hacked down by security forces for agitating for police reforms,” the statement added.
In his reaction, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State vowed to ensure that killers of Olajide are punished.
A condolence message by the governor to the family of Sowore, described the death as “heartbreaking”.
“The news of Olajide’s death is heartbreaking and we will make all efforts to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to justice,” the governor said.
“On behalf of the people and government of Edo State, I condole with the Sowore family and pray that God will grant all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
On his part, the former Vice President of Nigeria, Mr Atiku Abubakar, said deaths and killings of innocent Nigerians are becoming one too many.
Said Atiku: “His (Olajide) death and indeed the killings and daily abductions of innocent citizens, saddens me.
“Every death diminishes our humanity. My sincere condolences to the Sowore family and his friends. May his soul rest in peace.”
Mr Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for labour and employment, said, “Myself and other compatriots would be pressurising the law-enforcement agents to track down these killers without delay and bring them to justice. This, and many others around the country, must be checkmated with all arsenals at our disposal.”
Also reacting, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, condemned the killing of Felix Olajide Sowore.
“It saddens our hearts to learn of this heart-breaking calamity around this time. The police must therefore go all out for Felix’s assailants,” MURIC director, Prof Ishaq Akintola said in a statement.
For Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, a human rights campaigner and wife of late Yinka Odumakin, the Nigerian government ignorantly handled past cases of killing of innocent people and thus gave the herdsmen the audacity to still continue their heinous acts.
She stressed the need for government to ensure they arrest all perpetrators behind the killing of the deceased, adding that failure to do so, “tongues will wag and opinion will solidify around the culpability of the powers-that-be that this killing was orchestrated as pay-back time for Omoyele Sowore.”
“Government must avoid allowing this murder to be seen as a pain purposely inflicted on Omoyele Sowore to cower as well as punish him for his tango with the Muhammadu Buhari administration over issues of good governance and respect for fundamental human rights,” she added.
The deceased social media pages have been awash with tributes and a series of reactions.
A Lagos lawyer and activist, Inibehe Effiong, condemned the incident, adding that government should leave no stone unturned to pursue its perpetrators.
“It’s a sad commentary that Nigerians are being slaughtered unabated without any serious action by the government,” Effiong said
“This brutal murder should be duly investigated and the killers brought to justice,” he added.
Another user identified as Bamofin Ogbemerun, captioned a picture of the deceased, saying, “Haaaa Dr Mamiye!
“Olajide Sowore (holding the red cup) was a jolly good friend. We took this picture on Valentine Day this year at Mujork hotel, Igbekebo.
“We both met unexpectedly that day as both of us had in mind to patronise our indigenous hotel at Igbekebo.
He settled my bills of N7000 before I could say Jack. Kiribo as a community is bereaved! Indeed Àpoi land is bereaved. May those who did this, whether directly or impliedly know no peace. Rest on Dr Mamiye, Alase Oranmiyan!”
A family member of the decease Morakinyo Sowore, recalled how bandits’ bullet hit Olajide Sowore on the left side of his chest.
“My Brother Sowore Olajide , was bizarrely killed today (yesterday) at Morgan Farm before lsiuwa, Okada -Benin Express road Edo State Nigeria, by Fulani /Herdsmen. His vehicle was shot sporadically, and bullet hit him on the left side of his chest.
“One of the survivors gave an eyewitness account of how the kidnappers jumped down from a trailer, and block the road with same trailer. It is so sad! This can happen to anyone (me, you or our loved ones) that is the level of insecurity in Nigeria.”