Dele Giwa: Court Orders FG To Revisit Case of Assassinated Veteran Journalist

Dele Giwa: Court Orders FG To Revisit Case of Assassinated Veteran Journalist

  • It's been 38 years since the tragic demise of NewsWatch founder Dele Giwa in his Lagos office
  • The misery behind his death has since been unsolved after he was killed by a letter bomb, causing massive controversy in Nigeria
  • Fresh development has confirmed that the federal government has been ordered by a court to reopen an investigation into Giwa's murder journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil societies, courts, and metro

A Federal High Court in Abuja has issued a directive for the government to thoroughly investigate, prosecute, and penalise those responsible for the murder of Dele Giwa, the founder of Newswatch Magazine, along with other journalists in Nigeria.

A letter bomb tragically killed Giwa in his office in Lagos on October 19, 1986.

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Dele Giwa dies in his office in Lagos on October 19, 1986
Dele Giwa is regarded as one of Nigeria's best journalists of his generation. Photo Credit: Facebook
Source: UGC

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in the ruling, has mandated the government to implement measures to prevent future attacks on journalists and other media members.

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The applicant, the Incorporated Trustees of Media Rights Agenda, had sued the Attorney-General of Federation (AGF) as the sole respondent in the suit dated and filed on October 26, 2021, Channels TV reported.

The motion, identified as FHC/ABJ/CS/1301/2021, was filed to assert that the murders of journalists and media professionals in Nigeria constitute a breach of their fundamental right to life.

Statutory rights protecting journalists

The applicant argues that this right is protected under section 33 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and requests various forms of relief.

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According to The Cable, the affidavit cited several journalists who lost their lives while on duty, including Dele Giwa in 1986, Bolade Fasisi in 1998, Edward Olalekan in 1999, Omololu Falobi in 2006, Godwin Agbroko in 1999, Abayomi Ogundeji in 2008, and Edo Sule-Ugbagwu in 2010.

Justice Ekwo noted that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) failed to present any opposing documents to challenge the arguments made by the applicant.

Consequently, the court deemed the applicant's arguments true because no AGF counterclaims contradicted them.

As quoted by Daily Trust, Justice Iyang said:

“I have studied the response of the respondent to the averments of the applicant, and I find the said averments to be generic in nature, and they do not controvert the case of the applicant specifically.
“The applicant has stated names of journalists killed in Paragraph J of the affidavit in support.

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“It is pertinent to note that the respondent has neither denied that these killings have taken place or that these persons were not journalists or media practitioners.
“The position of the law is that affidavit evidence, which is not challenged or controverted howsoever, is deemed admitted and can be relied upon by a court.”

He asserted that journalism is a profession protected by the Constitution, emphasising the need to safeguard journalists and media workers while they perform their duties.

The judge determined that the applicant had presented convincing evidence to support their case and should be granted the requested remedies.

FG discontinues trial of Nigerian journalist Sowore over 'RevolutionNow' protest

In another report, FG has discontinued its case against RevolutionNow convener Omoyele Sowore over alleged treason.

A notice of discontinuance stamped by the federal high court, Abuja, and signed by the nation's minister of justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the complainant (federal government of Nigeria) would no longer proceed with the case.

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