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Court Orders FG To Reopen Investigation Into Dele Giwa’s Murder

A federal high court in Abuja has ordered the federal government to reopen investigation and prosecution over the murder of Dele Giwa, a journalist.

Giwa, the founding editor-in-chief of Newswatch Magazine, was killed by a parcel bomb at his Ikeja, Lagos residence on October 19, 1986.

Delivering judgment in a suit filed by the Incorporated Trustees of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), on Friday, Inyang Ekwo, presiding judge, also ordered the restart of investigations into unresolved cases of extra-judicial killing of other journalists in the country.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1301/2021, MRA sought the enforcement of fundamental rights of media practitioners to safety as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights.

Apart from Giwa, others listed in the affidavit include Bolade Fasisi of the National Association of Women Journalists, killed on March 31, 1998; Edward Olalekan of Daily Times, murdered on June 1, 1999; Omololu Falobi of The Punch, October 5, 2006; Godwin Agbroko of Thisday, December 22, 1999; Abayomi Ogundeji of Thisday, August 17, 2008; and Edo Sule-Ugbagwu of The Nation, April 24, 2010.

“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 judge held in his ruling.

“The applicant has stated names of journalists killed in Paragraph J of the affidavit in support.

“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.

“An order is hereby made directing the federal government of Nigeria to take measures to prevent attacks on journalists and other media practitioners.

“An order is hereby made directing the federal government of Nigeria to investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators of all attacks against journalists and other media practitioners, and ensure that all victims of attacks against journalists have access to effective remedies.

“An order is hereby made directing the federal government to take measures to raise awareness and build the capacities of various stakeholders, particularly journalists and other media practitioners, policymakers, law enforcement, security, intelligence, military as well as other officials and relevant stakeholders on the laws and standards for ensuring the safety of journalists and media practitioners.”

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