Revisiting high-profile  murder cases



ON account of the gruesomeness of the killing of some prominent Nigerians, the passage of time has not healed the wounds inflicted on the nation. And the cry for justice remains justifiably loud.

The citizens continue to live with the searing memory of unresolved killings, including those of the celebrated journalist, Dele Giwa, elder statesman Alfred Rewane, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Chief Bola Ige and top politicians Funso Williams, Harry Marshal, Aminasoari K. Dikibo and many others.

The realisation that only an effective resolution of these murder cases would assuage the troubled conscience of the nation has made the call for their investigation persistent over the years. Nigerians indeed want these murders investigated and the culprits appropriately punished to serve as a deterrent to the further commission of such heinous crimes.

When the call for renewed investigation of these murders was made again, the other day, by the House of Representatives, it was yet another reminder of the gash on the soul of Nigeria. The lawmakers asked the police to include in their investigations the killings of some traders at Apo, popularly known as the Apo Six, and the invasion by mobile policemen and armed soldiers of Ogoniland in Rivers State and Odi community in Bayelsa State.

Their call is one that resonates with the citizenry. However, in view of the fact that the nation’s security agencies have failed to successfully investigate these murder cases over the years, it would amount to false hope to still expect them to undertake any probe in this regard. For instance, the police have had almost three decades since 1986 when Dele Giwa was killed to fish out the culprits. On Alfred Rewane, it has been almost two decades while Bola Ige was killed a decade and a half ago.

It is, therefore, necessary for the lawmakers to consider a more effective way of undertaking these investigations with a view to resolving the murder cases. And no persons are better suited for the assignment than the lawmakers themselves. It is good that they have referred the matter to their committees on Police Affairs, Public Safety and National Security. But these committees should not be to just monitor the investigations of the cases and present an interim report to the House.

Rather, they should fully be in charge of the investigations, of course, with the comprehensive use of all security agencies. On these cases, the police and other security bodies should only assist the lawmakers; it is the responsibility of the lawmakers to get to the root of the murders. Clearly, undertaking such investigations would be in line with the oversight functions of the lawmakers.

Section 88(i) of the 1999 Constitution says that “ subject to the provisions of this constitution, each house of the National Assembly shall have power… to direct or cause to be directed an investigation into: Any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws; and the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department…” Unfortunately, successive National Assemblies have not really exercised this oversight power to the benefit of the citizens. Rather, whenever lawmakers exercise this power it has largely been for personal aggrandisement. This is because members of committees either in the Senate or the House of Representatives often see an investigation as an opportunity to intimidate and receive favour, from those they are supposed to investigate.

But since expectations are high that these current lawmakers would chart a different legislative path marked by diligent execution of their duties and adherence to the demands of probity, a direct legislative inquest into this high-profile murders would be a good start. The legislators could indeed learn from other nations of the world how legislative oversight functions are undertaken and bring such experience to bear on their work. Responsible legislatures effectively exercise their oversight powers in the interest of the public.

The United States Congress’ oversight powers were demonstrated in the investigation of the Watergate scandal in 1973-1974; Iran-Contra affair in 1987; and the China’s acquisition of U.S. nuclear weapons information in 1999. Also, in 1974, U.S. President Gerald R. Ford testified before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee to explain his pardon of his predecessor, President Richard M. Nixon. From the wide endorsement the motion for the investigations received in the House of Representatives, it is safe to posit that the lawmakers are passionate about unraveling the mysterious circumstances surrounding these high-profile murders.

But they should go beyond just showing interest. They must, as a body, undertake the investigations in order to get the right results. This is what would bring justice to the victims of brutal murders and their families, and relief to a traumatised nation.

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    Thank you for this article but I will like to make my contribution by pointing to another area that needs to be emphasized.
    I refer to the requirement for an urgent moral re-armament of our leaders and politicians. If such a thing can be achieved then we would have put one foot forward in the match to our emancipation as a nation.
    How to inculcate this norm is our major upstacle in this our country, Nigeria, today. May God help us.

    • Rev


  • Efeturi Ojakaminor

    Who killed Bola Ige? What of Dele Giwa?

    • Whenever the question – who killed Dele Giwa? was asked, the name of one prominent Nigerian dictator often comes to mind. The spirit of Dele Giwa shall never allow him to have peaceful sleep. It is natural.

    • Garden-City Boy

      …….Dele Giwa! Are you asking for who kill-am? All we knopw be say na Baba. If you add….na you sabi. No be me-O. Na Fela.
      For Bola Ige…go ask the other Baba. All of dem be baba..baba.

  • Adeola Onifade

    I see resurgence of beautiful ideas from parastals, ministries, government agencies etc, these days. The other day, it was NESREA that said vehicles that emit offensive smokes will no longer be allowed to move on the Nigerian roads, Road Safety, through its Corps Marshall, recently warred against trailers that do not latch their containers. PHCN while avoiding Buhari’s hammer ensures there is relative power supply. It is now the turn of lawmakers. Thank God for the true change that we voted for. It shall be everlasting!

  • One is beginning to have this tantalizingly unexplained feeling that the election of Buhari as the President of Nigeria is igniting a wind of change in the polity. The expectations Nigerians have of their new leader is literally sky high. For the first time in the history of this nation, we have a president who has refused to be pushed or pressurized into taking impromptu actions to please a cabal of hangers-on and sycophants. On the hills of this newly found resurgence of hope is the recent call by no other section than our Law makers in the House of Representative for a renewed investigation of all the high profile murder, some spanning three to four decades. This is a call that every peace loving member
    of the Nigerian nation will welcome unreservedly. It is an axiom that some of the gruesome murders were not solved out of the police not trying enough to investigate. It is obvious that investigation of these cases were usually stalled due to brazen perversion of the course of justice by those in the position of authority. In advance countries, the advancement in DNA profiling means that cases of this nature can be re-opened 50 years on ensuring nobody gets away with murder. Nigeria has the resources to re-open these cases and where possible enlist the assistance of external crime investigators for technical
    support and guidance. The state owes it a constitutional duty to protect lives and properties of its citizens. No body no matter how highly placed should be allowed to get away with murder.

  • Nazerine

    Everyone knows who killed Dele Giwa. Everyone knows who killed Bola Ige.

    • Garden-City Boy

      I don’t! Tell me who did.