Headlines

Court revives Dele Giwa’s ghost, orders prosecution of killers after 38yrs

Court

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja has ordered the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to re-open the investigation and prosecution of those who murdered the founder of Newswatch Magazine, Dele Giwa, in 1986.

Delivering judgment, Justice Ekwo held the AGF was under obligation to prosecute and penalize killers of media practitioners in the country.

Dele Giwa was murdered on October 19, 1986, in his Lagos office through a letter bomb.

Apart from Dele Giwa, the court ordered that the killings of other journalists in the discharge of their lawful duties must be investigated and perpetrators brought to book in line with the provisions of the law.

Justice Ekwo also ordered the Federal Government to ensure adequate protection and safety of the lives of journalists as enshrined in sections 33, 39 of the Constitution and Articles 4 and 9 of the African Charters on Human and Peoples Rights.

READ ALSO: Light House Pictures, Anthill Studios to release

The Incorporated Trustees of Media Rights Agenda, MRA, had sued the AGF before the court for the enforcement of fundamental rights of media practitioners to safety as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution and African Charters on Human Rights.

Dele Giwa was killed by a parcel bomb in his home at Ikeja, Lagos, while in his study with Kayode Soyinka, on Sunday 19 October 1986. The assassination occurred two days after he had been interviewed by State Security Service (SSS) officials. In an off-the-record interview with airport journalists, Lt. Col. A.K. Togun, the Deputy Director of the SSS had claimed that on 9 October Dele Giwa and Alex Ibru had organised a media parley for media executives and the newly created SSS. Togun claimed that it was at this meeting that the SSS and the media executives reached a secret censorship agreement. Under this agreement, the media was to report any story with potential to embarrass the government to the SSS before they tried to publish same.

Giwa had been invited by the SSS to their headquarters for the first time on 19 September 1986, after writing an article in which he described the newly introduced Second-Tier Foreign Exchange Market (SFEM) as “God’s experiment” and suggested that if SFEM failed, the people would stone their leaders in the streets.

Later on 18 October, a day before the bombing, a staff of the DMI had phoned Giwa’s house and asked for his office phone number from his wife, Funmi. This same person from the DMI later called back to say he couldn’t reach Giwa at the office and then put Col Akilu on the line. Ekpu alleges that Akilu asked Giwa’s wife for driving directions to the house and when she asked him why he needed the directions he explained that he wanted to stop by the house on his way to Kano and he wasn’t very familiar with Ikeja, he also offered that the President’s ADC had something for Giwa, probably an invitation. According to Ekpu, this didn’t come as a surprise because Giwa had received advance copies of some of the President’s speeches in the past through Akilu.

Nigerians await the latest in this direction with utmost keenness.

About the author

DailyTimesNGR

Leave a Comment