Sani Zorro, a member of the Federal House of Representatives and former National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has urged the Nigerian government to re-open the murder case of Dele Giwa and to declassify official records and files relating to his death.
Mr. Zorro made the appeal to the federal government at a colloquium held in Lagos by the NUJ to remember Mr. Dele Giwa, a fearless journalist and founder of the Newswatch magazine who was killed on October 19, 1986 via a mail bomb delivered to him at his Adeniyi Jones Avenue residence in Ikeja, Lagos.
“Since we have hit a brick wall in the investigation of the killers of Dele Giwa, I think it is the appropriate time we call for declassification of the investigatory gathering that has been conducted by the Nigeria police and other authorities that are involved in the investigation. I am ready to spearhead the bill that will be supported by journalists to declassify official records after a length of time,” Mr. Zorro said.
He opined that this would be necessary because police and other bodies have not been able to successfully discover and arrest those who were responsible for the murder of the late journalist 30 years after his assassination.
“The government should throw to the public space an official record that concerns all, and if we are to lay our hands on such a record, an investigative journalist will be able to unravel the secrets behind some things that have happened in the country,” Mr. Zorro said.
“I am making an appeal for the federal government to consider a posthumous honor for the late Dele Giwa. If Dele Giwa is honored posthumously, it will go a long way in recognizing that he was indeed a hero,” the legislator added.
“A former head of state, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, had previously conferred the highest honor of the land on the late Obafemi Awolowo, so it will not be out of place if the federal government does the same for Dele Giwa, who has not been properly appreciated by everyone.”
The ace journalist received the parcel bomb delivered by merchants of death to his then 19-year-old son, Billy. Mr. Giwa’s colleague, Newswatch’s London Bureau Chief, Kayode Soyinka, who was with him at the time of the tragic event, reportedly suffered perforated eardrums.
Mr. Giwa was subsequently rushed to the First Foundation Hospital in Ikeja but died shortly thereafter.
The late journalist was the founder of Newswatch magazine, which hit the newsstand in 1984, and worked with fellow journalists Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese and Yakubu Mohammed.