REVEALED: How ‘Arewa Republic’ FB page sold dummy that younger brother of murdered Gbenga Owolabi was involved

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REVEALED: How ‘Arewa Republic’ FB page sold dummy that younger brother of murdered Gbenga Owolabi was involved

Khalid ABRAHAM

It has been revealed that the news that made the rounds on social media starting Sunday afternoon, which claimed a younger brother of Gbenga Owolabi one of the murdered victims of the kidnap incidenmt in Abaa, Surulere local government, Femi Owolabi, indeed originated from a Facebook page created by people believed to be northerners in Nigeria in view of the account name – “Arewa Republic.”

The news quickly and widely circulated with many expressing surprise and raining curses on the alleged younger brother, Femi Owolabi, who the post claimed, is the immediate younger brother of the deceased.

Two persons including the owner of the hotel (Tana Suites), Gbenga Owolabi, and one of his staffers, Rachael Opadele, were abducted by gunmen in Abaa in the night of July 28.

The abductors later demanded a ransom of N100m but eventually took N5m but still went ahead to gun down the two victims and the motorcyclist, who conveyed the ransom bearer to the location.

It sparked an outrage with many baying for justice.

So, the news of the arrest hitting the air wave Sunday gained traction swiftly.

To verify the news ogbomosoinsightonline.com contacted the family if the news was true to which Mr. Ayo Owolabi, elder brother of Gbenga Owolabi, who coordinated the raising of the ransom money, said no.

He affirmed neither did they have any sibling by name Femi nor any member of the family arrested.

He suggested the false information could have been planted by either the perpetrators or northern irrendentists to divert attention, confuse people and take the sail out of the generally held belief that Fulani herdsmen are the major perpetrators of heinous crimes like kidnapping for ransom, banditry and terrorism in the country.

Further investigations by ogbomosoinsightonline.com has now unraveled the source (or rather the likely source of the diversionary news), which is a Facebook page with account name, “Arewa Republic.”

The information was posted on its wall on Sunday; it lacked any verifiable means or source attribution.

Titled, “How an Oduduwan plan the kidnap and the murder of his brother who returned from UK,” the platform, which gives its address as Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, and which ostensibly is to promote northern interest and cause, in the post, gives an emotional background of how Gbenga Owolabi returned from the “UK” and because of his passion invested in the Nigerian economy but got kidnapped along with one if his staff members, and got exterminated by the gunmen.

It adds that the acclaimed culprit had admitted to the crime and already regretting.

Though getting the deceased’s base abroad wrong (it says UK instead of US), it succeeded in whipping sentiment with many gullibly believing the account.

Various comments condemning the said (non-existent) brother appeared in the comment section and several others copied the content and reposted without a whiff of scrutiny coming to play.

The news engulfed the social media, many still hold on to it despite refutal.

The police had not come out to confirm the story but the family had debunked any of its own was arrested.

A perusal of Arewa Republic Facebook page unveils its pathological anti-south sentiment, it especially is critical of presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, churning out different posts to demean and discredit him.

The post on the Owolabis’ saga reads in full: “HOW AN ODUDUWAN PLAN THE KIDNAP AND THE MURDER OF HIS BROTHER WHO RETURNED FROM THE UK.

Gbenga Owolabi, described by many as a perfect gentleman, was comfortable in the US but strongly believed in investing in Nigeria, as part of his giving back to his home country.

He had a farm in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, and opened a hotel in the same town just last December. He was in Ogbomoso till March 2022. He returned to the US and prepared for his final relocation to Nigeria in July-after decades abroad.

He returned to Nigeria a few weeks ago and was kidnapped few days later. A ransom of 5 million naira was paid. Yet the kidnappers killed him and two others.

Of the two others killed was a university student who took up a job at the hotel while waiting for the ongoing ASUU strike to end. She died making herself useful as a worker in a new hotel.

The Oyo State Police Command had paraded five suspects in relation to the murder, among which

is Femi Owolabi his immediate younger brother. In his confession statement, Femi blamed the incident on Satan. He will be charged to court soon.”

It is recalled that many northern leaders and groups like Northern Elders Forum have several times attempted to deflect the profiling of Fulani herdsmen as perpetrators of banditry and kidnapping in the country even though many kidnap victims identified Fulani men as their captors.

While other tribes cannot be exonerated from the crimes, this new wave of kidnapping in the southwest which resembles the pattern in the north makes it difficult to absolve unscrupulous Fulani herdsmen as culprits.

Late Gbenga Owolabi and late Rachael Opadele

See screenshot of  the Arewa Republic post below:

 

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