Afrobeat singer, Seun Kuti has publicly asked the Federal Government to apologise to his family for the death of his grandmother, Funmilayo Kuti, before putting her picture on the proposed N5000 note.
Let’s go back in time; it’s February 1978, and Nigeria was being ruled by the military, led by General Olusegun Obasanjo. One of the most influential women in the country, Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti is resting in her Surulere abode, where two of her sons – Doctor Beko Ransome Kuti and musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti also call home. Her house is then invaded by a thousand unknown soldiers who attack and brutalise Beko and Fela, vandalize property, including Beko’s hospital, but in the heat of these inhumane behaviours of 'Kaaki Boys', they allegedly throw Olufunmilayo from the second floor of her house to the ground.
The first woman in Nigeria to drive a car and to ride a bike; a woman often regarded as ‘The mother of Africa’ slips into a coma and in April that year, died from the injuries sustained.
Today, Goodluck Jonathan is the President of the junta that killed the woman, and Seun, with full support of his elder brother and sisters, are asking for unreserved apoloogies from FG.
If you recall, the Federal Government have announced a proposed N5000 note to be printed and circulated in the country. They have also announced that they are considering putting Funmilayo Kuti’s picture on the note. Her four children – Olikoye, Beko, Fela and Dolupo, who protested her death back then are all dead, but one of her grandsons’ Seun Kuti isn’t taking the news lying down.
"She was murdered by the Federal Government, her house was burnt down on that same day, two of her children were brutalised, almost killed on that same day and the family have not receive any apology or compensation, most especially justice for such atrocity." Seun said.
Seun, an Afrobeat musician himself, is asking for not just an apology, but for someone to be held responsible for the February ’78 attack which resulted in the death of his grandmother.
Hear him again, "First, the Federal Government has to accept that they were the cause of her death. The official statement that they are still giving us is that she was murdered by 1,000 unknown soldiers who stormed the Kalakuta Republic."
Social network campaigns have been put in gear, with family, fans and friends of the Kutis. On Facebook an ‘I Hate the New 5000 Naira Note’ group was opened. On micro-blogging site Twitter, popular singer-producer Tha Suspect who is also an ‘advocate of the masses’ said ‘Elder Funmilayo Kuti On The #5,000 Note?? Plenty Apologies Go First Take Place but Shame go Gree Govt?’
Seun Kuti is not just advocating for the FG not to use his grandmother’s picture. From his tweets, we see he wants the N5000 not to be printed at all. Seun also seems to be ready for whatever, as he has also indicated that he will ‘take it to the streets for them’ if the idea is not nipped in the bud.
"If it’s goin to require us taking to d streets for ‘them’ to listen, then AM READY! Nigerians RISE; & say NO to d obnoxious N5,000 note!", Mr Kuti tweeted.