28 July 2006

Nigeria: Awoniyi, Na'abba, Others Condemn Killing

The murder of Funsho Williams has been described as "unfortunate" and "a pointer to turbulent times ahead" by political players.

Speaking to Daily Trust yesterday, Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Chief Sunday Awoniyi, said he was in shock. He said: "What does anybody gain by doing this type of thing? How does it further the fortunes of our democracy?," he asked. Awoniyi noted that the murder of Williams is a bad omen and one that has etched politically motivated murder in the nation's politics. He said: "I cannot understand this thing and that it can happen with this frightening rapidity, almost on a daily basis with such ease, I feel sorry for his family, friends and the nation in general". He said that there was need for the complete overhaul of the system and a "rapid sanitization of the security apparatus".

Similarly, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na'abba, said the incident is a dangerous signal to others in the race for pol itical office. "It is a dangerous trend as we approach next year. The deceased is a top political gladiator in the politics of Lagos state and his death cannot be divorced from politics." Hon. Na'abba said: "The police are not doing much and this is getting worse. You will remember that there was an attempt on the life of an ACD aspirant. One was killed in Jos. The truth is that Nigerians are under siege. I just hope that the authorities will do something about this type of thing."

But according to former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Coomassie, the blame is not entirely that of the police. "This is a sad development and the police should do all it can do to get to the root of this matter. But it is not entirely the fault of the police. It is the failure of the entire system. Assassination, by their nature are not easy to foil because it is a few people who get together to plan them. It cannot be easily nipped."

Coomassie said the political class should desist from th e cut throat competition they engage in for power seeking, noting that in the long run, only the politicians can "save themselves by exercising caution" Don Etiebet said: "It is tragic, sordid, unbelievable and alarming. Why should politicians focus on each other instead of going to the electorates who will vote them into office?"

Describing the late Williama as a religious man, Etiebet who defected to the ruling PDP, said the former gubernatorial aspirant in Lagos state eschewed the politics of violence. "He was a humble engineer who did his politics as if it was engineering. He was a devout catholic who was practically harmless." On his own part, former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh, said political assassinations may become a permanent fixture. He said: "This is an embarrassing reminder of what lies in wait as we approach 2007. Nigerian politicians have been encou-raged to take politics as a full time business."

He said: "The solution is to decongest the polit ical space so that law making can take the form it did in the first republic". The Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), has also described it as "dreadful". Speaking to Daily Trust, Director of Publicity, Ismail Sani, said that the act was condemnable. He called on the government to investigate and identify the "perpetrators of this dastardly act and ensure justice is done"

Similarly, the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), pointed out that the murder was totally unnecessary and urged politicians to work together. Calling for an all political summit, the party regretted the recent wave of politically motivated murders, noting that an ACD leader, Jesse Aruku, was in like manner, murdered in Plateau State.

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