Court Orders Nigerian Government to reopen fresh investigation and prosecution of late journalist DELE GIWA’S Killers

Friday, February 16, 2024 - A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday ordered the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to re-open the investigation into the death of the founder of Newswatch Magazine, Dele Giwa, in 1986.

The court ordered the chief law officer of the country to also open the prosecution of those who killed the journalist.

Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the ruling, adding that the Nigerian Government, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, should prosecute and penalise the killers of media practitioners in the country.

The court ordered the Nigerian government to ensure that there is proper security and safety for journalists, as enshrined in sections 33 and 39 of the Constitution and Articles 4 and 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

The Incorporated Trustees of Media Rights Agenda, MRA, had sued the AGF for the enforcement of media practitioners' fundamental right to safety, as protected by the 1999 Constitution and African Human Rights Charter.

Apart from Dele Giwa, the court ordered that the killings of other journalists while performing their jobs should be investigated and that offenders should be prosecuted in accordance with the terms of the law.

Dele Giwa and fellow journalists Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese and Yakubu Mohammed founded Newswatch in 1984, but its first edition was distributed until January 28, 1985

Giwa was killed by a parcel bomb in his home in Ikeja, Lagos, while in his study with Kayode Soyinka, on Sunday, October 19, 1986. The assassination reportedly occurred two days after he had been interviewed by officials of the State Security Service (SSS), also known as the Department of State Services (DSS).

On October 19, 2023, 37 years after his death, #RevolutionNow convener, Omoyele Sowore, decried that after so many years, the journalist and activist had yet to get justice.

In a memorial post for the late journalist, Sowore knocked a former military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, alleging that he was behind the assassination.

Sowore, the candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 and 2023 presidential elections, offered a prayer that Giwa’s spirit should torment those who plotted his death.

His death has remained a mystery to Nigerians, especially since the government has failed to bring anyone to justice or officially made any concrete revelation regarding the murder.

Giwa’s death was believed to be articulately plotted and the use of a letter bomb was unprecedented in Nigeria's history.

In remembrance of his death with none of his suspected killers made to face the law to date, Sowore in a post on his X (formerly Twitter) handle, said, “Exactly today (October 19, 1986) 37 years ago, military head of state, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (notoriously known as “IBB) sent a letter bomb to the Lagos residence of topmost journalist, Dele Giwa, the bomb ripped through his lower abdomen and killed him.

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