We may reopen Dele Giwa's murder case- Police

THE PUNCH Newspaper

THE Nigeria Police on Sunday said they might reopen investigation into the 1986 murder of famous journalist and founding Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch Magazine, Dele Giwa.

Giwa was murdered by parcel bomb delivered to him in his Oduduwa, Ikeja, Lagos residence in the morning of October 19, 1986 and the killers till date remained unknown.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole, told The PUNCH that the police could initiate fresh probe into the Giwa murder case if there were new leads.

According to her, there is no statute of limitation to criminal investigations.

“Regarding reopening of Dele Giwa’s case, yes, (the) police can re-open it, if there are new leads. There is no statute of limitation to criminal investigations,” the police spokesman told one of our correspondents on Sunday.

The renewed interest of the Nigeria police followed recent public utterances of some of the police officers that investigated the killing and some witnesses to the incident.

While a former Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Chris Omeben, who said he headed the investigation team, reportedly told journalists at a recent press conference that Kayode Soyinka was the prime suspect, a former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Tsav, has told one of our correspondents that his ex-boss claim was false.

Soyinka was the London correspondent of Newswatch and he was with Giwa in his house when the late journalist opened the deadly parcel delivered to him.

Omeben said he was denied access to Soyinka and the Newswatch correspondent was aided to escape from the country hence the killers could not be unveiled.

Tsav dismissed Omeben’s claims, saying it was himself, and not Omeben, that investigated the case.

The ex-Lagos CP noted that members of his team were not allowed to continue with their investigation because they sought permission to question military officers who were operatives of the then military government of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

Tsav said, “Initially the police detailed one Kaltungo to investigate, when he came back they handed over the case to me to investigate.

“We called the late Gani Fawehemi, Florence Ita-Giwa and we called (Kayode) Soyinka, he too came, and Ray Ekpu, we took statements from all these people.

“At the end of my investigations and from the evidence we received, somebody called Dele Giwa and asked him where he was living.

“The person said he was going to Kano and that he would want to break his journey to see Dele Giwa in his house and that Dele Giwa should tell him where he was living. When we got that information, we knew that the person wanted to know where exactly Dele Giwa was.

“Not quite long, somebody came on a motorcycle to deliver the letter to Dele Giwa’s son (at that time, Soyinka was in the room), he took the letter and gave it to his father.”

The retired police officer further explained that “Dele Giwa saw the padded letter with the Nigerian Coat of Arms and he said ‘this must be from the Presidency’ and when he attempted to open it the thing went off.”

He added, “When I investigated to this level, I wrote my report and sought for permission from the AIG who was at that time Victor Pam (he was the one in charge) for me to search the offices and houses of (Col.) Halilu Akilu and Togun, it was at this time that Omeben was transferred to take over from Victor Pam.

“I investigated the case but met with this frustration because the file never got back to me.

“The claim by Omeben that he handled the case and established a case against Soyinka is completely false. I wonder why people who claim to be senior officers and men of God will tell these kinds of lies.

“It was already established that somebody telephoned Dele Giwa. We wanted the evidence from NITEL at that time because when somebody telephones there is a call log we will know who made the call, from which phone number, to which number.

“I wrote my report and Omeben himself saw the report and said he liked the way I wrote the report; the file went and never came back. I was not surprised because from my experience in the police force, any case that was handled by the police in which government has an interest in, you can never establish it.

“It will be suppressed, that was why the case suffered the way it suffered. Some people have no conscience because of money and promotion.”


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