Today marks 32 years after the unapologetically fiery journalist, Sumonu Oladele Giwa was assassinated.
The question on everyone’s lips till this present moment is who sent the letter bomb that wreaked the brutal and inhumane havoc on the brave journalist?
While the question has been waiting on the wings of justice, still to be answered since 1986, every October 19, Nigeria definitely remembers the gory and painful nature of his death.
Who is Dele Giwa?
Dele Giwa was born on 16 March 1947 in Ile-Ife, Osun State. He had his higher education in the United States at the Brooklyn College in 1977 and later enrolled for a graduate programme at Fordham University. Before returning to Nigeria from America, he had worked as a News Assistant with the New York Times. He then worked with Lagos-based newspapers National Concord and the Daily Times
Giwa was a fact finding journalist who is best known for blazing the path for investigative journalism in Nigeria with the establishment of his Newswatch magazine. The journalist who was best referred to as a ‘flaming journalist with a fiery message’ launched a full onslaught on the oppressive nature of military regimes at that time.
How was he killed?
Dele Giwa was killed by a letter bomb delivered to his Lagos home on 19 October 1986. The assassination reportedly occurred two days after he had been interviewed by the State Security Service(SSS) officials.
Accounts on the event noted that he was with the London Bureau Chief of Newswatch, Kayode Soyinka when he received the package. The package exploded and Giwa sustained fatal wounds which killed him upon arrival at the hospital. Soyinka, on the other hand, escaped death but was deafened as he had left the room before the explosion.
Who delivered the letter bomb?
According to some reports, the inscription on the letter bomb was “From the Office of the C-in-C” (commander-in-chief)” with instructions that only the addressee should open it.
Although there have been several attempts to find out who sent the letter bomb, it has been met with different obstacles.
Professor Taiyemiwo Ogunade once said in an interview in 2009 that a former administrator of Lagos and a loyalist of Ibrahim Babangida, Mohammed Buba Marwa committed the crime.
Also, fingers have been pointed at the military leadership of Ibrahim Babangida as being the mastermind of the dastardly act.
Has anyone been arrested?
After Giwa’s death, a lawyer and human rights activist, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), filed a series of applications before the court.
Also a story from TELL Magazine published in 1993 notes that the lawyer, Fawehinmi “filed at least 32 cases and made 315 court appearances on the Dele Giwa issue”
However, no arrests have been made and journalists have been clamouring for the case to be taken up once again.
Though the question about Dele Giwa’s death still rings freely in the minds of Nigerians, we are reminded that the perpetrators of his murder still have not been found and justice till date has not been well served.
So Nigerians will ask again. Will justice ever prevail on Dele Giwa’s murder?
Time will definitely tell!!!
by Funmi Ibitoye