Monday, 4 November 2013

Who Killed Dele Giwa? (Part 1)

"There is a tendency for people to make up their minds as to what they want to see or hear. It may not necessarily be the truth and once they are so fixed, every other thing that somebody else will say would not mean anything to them." 

-Chris xxxx

Three Saturdays ago, I woke up with a hangover in my friends house. We had thrown a party the day before, and as the girl I invited didn't show up, I engaged the bottle for the night. I rolled over, and at the edge of the bed, there was a book trapped between the mattress and the wall. Out of not having anything  better to do, I pulled the book out free, and the title caught my full read- DELE GIWA: THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS.

I started reading the book immediately, and the findings inspired this post. Ironically, the day I found the book was the very day that Dele Giwa was killed by a letter bomb 27 years ago- October 19th. I wasn't even half way through the book when I found out that what I believed about the incidence all these years could be wrong. In case you don't know about Dele Giwa, he was a revolutionary journalist, the Chief Editor of Newswatch; a magazine he co-founded with 3 other editors- Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, and Yakubu Mohammed in 1984. On Sunday 19th, 1986, he was blown to bits when he opened a parcel bomb that was delivered to his house in Ikeja. Days afters his death, his personal attorney (the late Gani Fawehimi) and his other colleagues of the press started pointing accusing fingers at two top security officers (Akilu and Togun), and the then military president- Chief in Command of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangidi. Gani didn't give room to a proper police investigation before levelling accusations.

I was about 6 years old at the time of the incidence, and I can remember the news vividly, cos it was like something out of a James Bond movie. And the story generally circulating was that he had some incriminating evidence against Babangida he was going to publish in his Magazine, and that IBB had him killed. It was general knowledge, and no one even took time to look into the authenticity of this claims by the late Gani Fawehinmi (God bless his soul). I was surprised when I read the book I earlier mentioned (which was written by Kunle Togun- one of the men accused of Dele Giwa's murder) to discover that Gani Fawehinmi's case against the two SSS officers was discredited at the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and finally the Supreme Court.

In December 1987, Gani presented his evidences before Justice Eniola Longe of the then Lagos High Court, who quashed the application and referred to the evidences Gani was parading as mere hearsay. And Gani never appealed against the judgement. A libel suit was instituted against Gani by the two SSS officers (Togun and Akilu) he falsely accused, and Gani was told to pay damages of millions of Naira to the two officers...he never filed a defense against the suit.

All these raised questions in my mind. What really happened? Why were the two SSS officers accused of plotting and killing Dele Giwa, and why was IBB named the mastermind behind it all.
I was no-longer an ignorant kid, so my mind wanted concrete evidences.

I discovered that all the accusations where based on the fact that Dele Giwa was brought in for questioning by the DMI (Directorate of Military Intelligence) and the SSS (State Security Service) at separate times, days before he was assassinated. His last questioning was by the SSS, on the 17th of October, 2 days before he was killed. Dele Giwa had reported this occurrences to his attorney, Gani Fawehinmi, as he feared for his life. And Gani didn't want to believe it was a coincidence that Dele Giwa was killed days after being questioned by the Nigerian States Security Service (SSS), which LT. Colonel Kunle Togun was the Director of at the time.

To make matters worse, Colonel Halilu Akilu (Director of Military Intelligence) had called Giwa's house a day before Giwa was killed and had asked Dele's wife for directions to the house when he couldn't get Dele Giwa on the phone. So, Gani's conclusions was that Akilu had asked for directions so as to plan Dele Giwa's assassination. But it was later discovered that it was Prince Momoh (the then Minister of Information) who instructed Akilu to call Dele's home that day. After the series of visits to the SSS headquarters, Dele feared for his life, so he had told everyone close to him, one of them being Prince Momoh. And Momoh had had a chat with Akilu to find out what the issue was all about. He discovered that Dele Giwa was brought in for questioning on a tip the SSS had on a possible gun smuggling and some other threat to National Security issues Giwa was involved in, but that they knew it was false intel. They wanted to let Giwa know what they had heard because the source was someone supposedly close to Giwa. Akilu let Momoh know there was no problem, and that they no longer had an issues with Giwa. But Momoh insisted that Akilu call Giwa to reassure him that there was no bad blood there.

I want to make this post as short as I can, so I will try and digress to some matters more pressing than just myths, and propaganda. Below is the picture of the room that Dele Giwa was in when he received and opened the letter bomb that killed him...and also below is a picture of Giwa's bloody body after the bomb explosion.

Look at the level of destruction caused by the bomb; the roof was brought down by the blast. Do you think  anyone  else in the room could have survived the blast? Dele Giwa's lower body was blown to pieces. It's funny that there was another man in the room that day. He was the head of Newswatch in London at the time and had flown in a couple of days before the incidence. He was staying at Dele Giwa's Ikeja house, and had briefly excused himself to the toilet after Dele Giwa received the package. According to his testimony, he had not made it half way out the room when the bomb went off. He ended up with not even a scratch on his body.

Part 2

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...