The Principal Private Secretary to Edo State Governor, Mr Olaitan Oyerinde was killed in the wee hours of Friday morning by unknown gunmen. His assassination has left so many questions on the political future of Edo state especially as the election comes up this July..
The slain human rights activist and special adviser and Principal Secretary to the Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Mr Olaitan Oyerinde had retired to bed late on Thursday night apparently looking forward to another morning of hard work as one of the strategic planners for political and social emancipation of Edo State.
He had been monitoring the news and getting prepared for another hard day Friday and reflecting as he watched evening news in his usual routine manner at his residence reception room in his residence on Ugbor area of Benin City.
Four gunmen at about 1 .am on Friday morning forced their way into the residence just as the family members were fast asleep in their respective rooms.
Shortly as the five-man assailants arrived the residence, they bounded the security guard, with two of the assailants forcing their way through the front door and making straight for Oyerinde’s bedroom.
On recognizing that it was Mr. Oyerinde’s brother-in-law who was actually sleeping on the bed, they immediately left the room searching through the house and forcing their way to Oyerinde’s wife, Funke’s room. They asked the wife to lead them to the husband who, unknown to them, was sleeping in the living room.
On sighting him, they instantly fired four shots, one to the head, chest, abdomen and hip, killing Oyerinde instantly. The gunmen later fled without taking anything from the house, living him in a pool of blood..
The killing of Mr. Oyerinde is coming exactly six days after Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s convoy was attacked along Warrake-Auchi road, by a truck that curiously veered off its track and headed straight for the Governor’s official car, missing it by the whiskers. Three journalists were killed while others including security personnels sustained various degree of injuries.
About 2.45am a day after the Governor’s convoy accident, the home of the Information Commissioner, Mr Louis Odion, was invaded by four gunmen who also missed him because he opted to pass the night in a friend’s house located in another part of the city.
A member of the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Johnson Oghuma was also similarly attacked by gunmen recently. Oghuma who represents Etsako Central had his car riddled with bullets as he was on his way to Fugar, his hometown.
Odion had at a press briefing last Sunday, raised fears that top government functionaries were being targeted for elimination.
Oyerinde who read Mass Communication at the University of Lagos, was seconded from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to work for the comrade governor in November 2007. He is survived by his wife, Funke, four children and an aged mother.
Accoding to Tony Iyare, a Special Adviser on Media Affairs:”This sequence of sordid events coming each time on the eve of the flag off of Governor Oshiomhole’s campaign, raises grave concern and therefore demands thorough investigation by the security forces.
Human Rights Lawyer, Bamidele Aturu reacting to Oyerinde’s assisination said: ”Those who masterminded the killing of Olaitan are little minds who were scared of his enormous intellect and organizational acumen, both of which he marshaled in aid of the current Governor of the State. Those who kill men of ideas betray the ignorance that ideas do not die with those who propound or profess them. The ideas cherished and articulated by Olaitan remain indestructible.
Meanwhile, Nigerian police, State Security Service and other security agencies in Edo State and Nigeria in general have been called upon to fish out his killers, in order to prevent a re-occurrence as the Gubernatorial election fixed for July draws nearer.
The warning was handed down by the Centre for Ethics,Democracy and Development,(CEDAD) in a press release signed by Gbenga Soloki in Lagos.
CEDAD described the late Oyerinde as a committed labour Activist, human rights crusader and a pro-democracy activist,who contributed immensely during the struggle for the return of democratic governance in Nigeria.