Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Scotland Yard in Nigerian murder backyard

The need to improve the police

And so Scotland Yard is invited to unravel the mystery behind the brutal murder of Funsho Williams – a gubernatorial aspirant for the ruling party’s primaries in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Whilst many might lament the tacit admission that the Nigerian Police, is ill-equipped, ill-prepared and unqualified to handle high-profile political assassinations, it is a first step to seek help where you know you are lacking.

My concern is it whether it would contribute in any appreciable way to improving the standards police work in general and then detective agency leading on to effective homicide investigation practices.

Eschew Nigerian histrionics

Mainly, I would hope that Scotland Yard would just get down to the nitty-gritty of the case by first cordoning off the Dolphin Estate premises of the deceased as a crime scene – if any clues are still left to develop a murder trail.

They should also avoid unnecessary photo opportunities and press conferences which would allow our apparently incompetent criminal investigation services to appear as if they are doing something.

Then on to the President who went to great lengths to justify inviting Scotland Yard, his words bring some sort of comfort that political murders must stop and the perpetrators must be nabbed and brought to justice, having himself lost his Minister of Justice to murderers a few years before.

Curses are not helpful

It is important to keep an objective perspective to this whole matter and one would take exception to comments like – “Those who killed Funsho will experience sorrow for the rest of their lives, they and their families and they will never know peace”.

It is important we do not get emotionally carried away with ferocious passions that make public statements sound moot, irrelevant and unhelpful to attaining focus on the issues at hand.

So, an entourage of ruling party governors with the President visited the victim’s mother to pay their condolences at which he said the victim was “an apostle of politics without bitterness”.

Now, we should not speak ill of the dead, that level of praise does help express loss, but in reality, the man was the day before his death in a meeting with other aspirants and the police where they were advised to restrain their supporters and eschew violence – such slanted praise taints the victimology profile necessary to help detectives in profiling possible criminals.

That is not to say that these pronouncements do not help to taking sympathy to the level of empathy.

Ghosts of murders past

It also appears the victim’s family has returned to Nigeria to do the requisite things for arranging internment once the body is released after autopsy.

They have been receiving visitors sympathising at their loss, one such visitor is Senator Iyiola Omisore – is that not the man implicated in the murder of the Minister of Justice where the police bungled the investigation and the case was so bogged down with submissions and retractions that the toll of it all most definitely lead to the death of the widow.

Hope for new leads

Senator Omisore was eventually discharged and acquitted after 18 months in prison, all because the case was completely messed up.

It does not augur well that such a person should have a prominent platform in the another political murder – having this said of him - Describing it as sad, Omisore urged investigators to fish out the killers and bring them to book – he probably knows more about resolving political murders – the fish are usually big and they have the books.

In this case, hopefully, the police are bigger sharks than the big fish and they would scent enough from bloodied scales to home in on their quarry. With the help of Scotland Yard, they just might.

References

Funsho Williams' murder investigation: Why we brought in Scotland Yard –Obasanjo

The Ige Family & Omisore Trial

Daily Headlines : Omisore Freed

Williams: Ehindero Hints of Major Breakthrough

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