FOLLOWING the reopening of investigation into the murder of the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige and ex-Deputy National Chairman (South-South) of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Aminasoari Dikibo, police authorities have commenced moves to re-arrest some of the principal suspects in the unresolved murders.
Vanguard, yesterday, gathered that crack detectives attached to the investigating team have commenced recalling the files and studying the confessional statements and investigative reports, with a view to getting ideas on new leads to follow.
In the case of Bola Ige, the suspects targeted, according to sources, are mostly those arrested in 2002, including some who were sent to jail but somehow found their way out and partook in the 2003 elections.
Thus, it was learned that all forensic analyses reports pertaining to the case that were hitherto inconclusive, will now be concluded with the new technology available to the Police.
Meanwhile, the polity was awash with commendations, yesterday, for President Muhammadu Buhari over his order to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to reopen investigations into the unresolved murder of Chief Bola Ige and Dikibo.
While saluting the President for the move, former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope and National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin, urged President Buhari to extend the probe to the litany of unresolved killings in the country.
This is as former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, expressed optimism that the new probe would fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly acts.
Murdered on December 23, 2001 and February 6, 2004 respectively, Ige and Dikibo were among the many politicians who were killed during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The killings, especially that of Ige, led to the exchange of verbal missiles between former President Obasanjo and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, who at a stage accused the then ruling PDP of harbouring “a nest of killers”, adding that “the vipers in the nest do not strike only outwards but inwards.”
Before Ige and Dikibo, the Nigerian killing field had claimed the likes of Mr. Dele Giwa, Bagauda Kaltho, Tunde Idiagbon, Alfred Rewane, Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua, Kudirat and Abiola M.K.O. Abiola, among others, during the military era.
Upon the return of civil rule and preparations for general elections, a host of politicians were gunned down in their prime.
Those assassinated included: Hon. Odunayo Olagbaju, Osun State (2001), Igwe Barnabas, the Onitsha branch chairman of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, and his wife, Abigail, who were murdered on September 10, 2002. After their assassins had killed them, they ran them over with their car.
In the roll call of unresolved assassinations were: Chief Ogbonnaya Uche (a.k.a. OGB – PDP, Imo State, March 2003; Yemi Oni (AD Ekiti State); Dr. Marshall Harry(ANPP), March 2003; Andrew Agom March 4, 2004; Mr. Ikenna Ibor (ANPP Anambra State) March 27, 2003; Hon. Tony Dimegwu (ANPP Imo State), April 30, 2003; Mr. Issa Zaria (ANPP Kwara State), April 2003; Chief Onyewuchi Iwuchukwu (ANPP, Imo State), April 19, 2003; Mr. Luke Shingaba, March 2004; Chief Philip Olorunnipa (INEC, Kogi State), April 2004; and Mr. Esho Egbelu (Cross Rivers State), August 2004.
There were also Captain Jerry Agbeyegbe, October 12, 2004; Alhaji Lateef Oramiyan (Ife – Osun State), May 15, 2005; Mr. Anthony Ozioko (PDP, Abuja), July 27, 2005; Mr. Patrick Origbe (PDP, Delta State), June 3, 2005; Mr. Felix Eboigbe (Edo State), August 2005; July 2006; Chief Jesse Aniku (ACD Plateau State); Engr. Funsho Williams (PDP, Lagos State), July 27, 2006; Dr. Ayodeji Daramola (PDP, Ekiti State), August 14, 2006; Charles Nsiegbe, November 21, 2009; Mr. Ayo Omorogbe; Sule Ugbagwum; Bayo Ohu, an assistant Editor with The Guardian; Godwin Agboroko of This Day; and Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Private Secretary to Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who was murdered at about 1.00am on Friday, May 4, 2012.
I hope it will be successful –Falae
Hailing the move, Falae said: “We thank God and we thank him (Buhari) for it. It is a national embarrassment for the former Attorney-General to be killed and we are not able to investigate and find out the killers and bring them to justice. So, we hope the new investigation will be successful so that we can have greater confidence in our security and justice system.”
It shouldn’t be limited to Ige and Dikibo –Balarabe Musa
In like manner, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, who commended the federal government for taking a bold step, called for the setting up of a Human Rights Commission to probe all fundamental human rights abuses.
“It is a commendable thing but not only that, they should probe all fundamental human rights abuses. Beside the Bola Ige and Dikibo murder, there have been others, particularly political killings. What they should do is to set up a Human Rights Commission to investigate all the human rights abuses and killings till date. This should not be limited to the Bola Ige and Dikibo murder cases,” he said
Investigate the death of Marshall Harry — Ankio-Briggs, Okoko
Reacting to the development, prominent Niger Deltans urged President Buhari to expand the list of high profile murder cases to be investigated to include Dr Marshal Harry.
Harry was murdered on March 5, 2003 in Abuja, ahead of a rally of his All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, for the South South slated to hold in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Buhari at that time was the presidential candidate of the ANPP and was also billed to address the rally in Port Harcourt.
A foremost Niger Delta female activist, Ms Ankio Briggs, said she was surprised that President Buhari did not include Harry in the list of murder cases to be investigated, noting the late Harry was even coordinating Buhari’s presidential campaign in the region before his assassination.
“He should be included. Nigerians and Rivers people will also want his case to be thoroughly investigated, ” she said.
Former President, Ijaw National Congress, Professor Kimse Okoko, also called on President Buhari to include the late Harry and other related high profile political murders in the country within the time.
Chairperson, Ijaw Mothers Union, Ms Doris McDaniels said the order to the Police was a welcome development, adding that the investigation should also cover the late Harry and the process should be transparent to avoid creating unnecessary controversies.
“Murder cases never close. When there is need to revisit it, it is natural to do so. It should be transparent. And it should cover the late Harry and other related murders in the state,” she added.
Extend probe to Abiola, Kudirat, others –Afenifere,
Also, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said though it was a welcome development, the probe should be extended to unearth the death of Chief MKO Abiola, his wife, Kudirat, and other unresolved murder cases.
Afenifere National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin, in a phone chat said: “We welcome the development as we need to bring closure to these dastardly killings. But the same probe must be extended to the death of MKO Abiola, Kudirat Abiola and other unresolved murders. We must get justice for all the high profile murders.”
He should extend the investigation to others –Babatope
Former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, his part, said President Muhammadu Buhari, was right to have launched an investigation into the assassination of some eminent Nigerians but added that the investigation should be extended to others also killed mysteriously during that period.
“I think President Buhari’s directive that those deaths should be investigated is a right step in the right direction but I will want to appeal to him to also investigate the death of others that were also murdered during that time. I am giving him all my support on this move,” he said.
It’s a plus for the FG- Ajibola
A legal practitioner and former Commissioner for Special Duties in Osun State, Dr. Basiru Ajibola, noted that the directive would be a plus to the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria.