- Posted October 19, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your rock and roll memories
The Drama, Greed, Assassination, Deceit, Bribery, Looting and Letter bomb of the Evil Candidate called …….The death of the Pen ! DELE GIWA KILLED
Twenty-six years ago, on October 19, 1986, the rainbow suddenly blur at noon. In the brutal darkness, we lost Dele Giwa, Dele Giwa's journalism career was exciting and it reads like the stuff of which fairy tales are made. He was an enchanting prose stylist and a fearless and committed investigative journalist. He represented the best of his chosen profession. Dele Giwa took on the authorities, his pen through his column PARALAX SNAP flayed those twerps who retarded Nigeria's growth and foisted a regime of socio-economic inequity on the people. He was a thorn in the flesh of incompetent rulers and for that he suffered frequent harassments including detention by government. Having known what it was to be poor, Dele Giwa saw journalism as a tool for social reformation. Dele Giwa loved life and lived it to the full even though his life was cut short at youthful 39. He loved women and wine. He was also debonair. He loved excellence too. He, together with Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese and Yakubu Mohammed took Nigerian journalism to avant gardist heights and conferred respectability on the profession. The emergence of their brainchild Newswatch revolutionised, repositioned and redefined Nigerian journalism. The quartet mentored a generation of intrepid journalists who are today maestros in every sense of the word. Dele Giwa loved journalism which brought him fame and fortune. He enjoyed the fame and its attendant connections which made him to be too close to power. His breathtaking biography Born to Run written by Dele Olojede and Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo points to the fact that Dele Giwa cherished and prided his romance with men of power; a factor which made sensitive state secrets accessible to him. This was his undoing. The powers that be had thought that Dele Giwa knew too much, and that was dangerous. He had to leave and not live to reveal what he knew.
Dele was home on Talabi Street, Ikeja, Lagos, about to eat a meal with our London bureau chief Kayode Soyinka when his son, Billy, brought in a large brown envelope addressed to him and carrying what seemed to be the official government seal. Two men in a Peugeot had delivered the parcel to Dele’s home. As Dele attempted to open the parcel, which he believed had come from the office of the Nigerian president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, it blew up. It was a parcel bomb. Dele’s lower half was almost severed from his body.
The news shattered the national euphoria following the awarding of the Nobel Prize for literature to Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka that October. The country was shocked by the cruelty of the killing and the instrument of death.
Fawehinmi at a human rights commission hearing. (Next)
Investigations by Dele’s lawyer, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the lone campaigner for justice in the case, revealed that a security agent, Lt. Col Ajibola Kunle Togun, interrogated Dele two days before, and had falsely accused him of gun-running and planning to destabilize the government. Dele was so disturbed by the allegations that he called Col. Haliru Akilu, director of military intelligence, to complain. According to the investigations, the same Akilu called Giwa’s wife to ask for directions to the house on the eve of his murder. The government announced that a judicial commission of inquiry would be set up, but in the end the commission never came to be. We passed every tip we received to the police and we repeatedly sought information about their investigations but at no time did they inform us of any breakthrough. We brought the case before Nigeria's Human Rights Violations Investigations Commission, but Babaginda and the security agents involved in Giwa’s interrogation refused to testify. Dele’s killers are probably walking the streets as free men but, we hope, with a throbbing conscience.
The murder cast a chill on the journalistic odyssey and that was the beginning of media brutality in Nigeria. We are soldiering on, in our own way, expanding the frontiers of press freedom even as we bear the burden of official intolerance and the fickleness of the Nigerian public. What we’ve given to the magazine is our sweat. What Dele gave to it was his life.
Researched by: 'Jide Adesina