OPEN LETTER TO NIGERIA'S POLICE CHIEF
The Inspector–General of Police,
Nigerian Police Force,
Louis Edet House,
PLEASE ATTEND TO THE UNRESOLVED MURDER CASES IN NIGERIA
Greetings to you. Madoooo.. Ndibeyi ya. Extend my regards to your family. A lam ekele oo. Je we na ihu. One thing I cannot understand is the too many unresolved murder cases in Nigeria. Assassinations are now hubby in some part of Nigeria. Egwu na tusia anyi. The activities and actions of some big individuals and groups in Nigeria are centered on assassination in settling scores. Between 1986 to present day many prominent Nigerians have been assassinated, and we notice the dismal effort of the police and other security agencies in bringing culprits to book. The police end up attributing reported cases of assassination to arm robbery attack. This arm robbery attack story for every murder case in Nigeria is not holding waters. Nigerians observe with sadness, the inconclusive state of the various cases of high level assassination in Nigeria. Some people are now shouting 'conspiracy'.
The Nigerian state is one that has experienced different degrees of assassination with the level of assassination fast becoming a national nightmare replacing law with lawlessness, order with disorder, peace with violence and love with hate. The inordinate level of barbarism being displayed by members of the Nigerian political class is giving Nigerians a cause for worry. The level of assassination in Nigeria is a clear manifestation of vendetta; where peace has given way to violence and assassination has become the norm; where political actors resort to assassination of political opponents all in a bid to attain political power or positions. The spate of political assassinations in Nigeria has reached an alarming stage with a good number of our prominent politicians and citizens alike lost to this worm. The government of Nigeria is finding it extremely difficult in handling the level of insecurity in the country, which has put the lives of its citizens in danger. Right from 1986 till date, the spate of political assassinations has risen in a geometric progression, thus eroding human values such that violence grew in time.
To me the major reason why Nigerians engage in political assassination is the quest for political power and positions. The inordinate ambition of Nigeria politicians and the vigor with which they pursue it have made them to go to any length just to attain such power even if it meant taking the lives of those who may pose as hindrance in the pursuit of their ambition. It is regarded as a 'do or die' affair. That is, a must win situation. Nigerians see the position or power which they seek as more important compared to the lives they take. Politics is supposed to be people-oriented. That is, the authoritative allocation of values/resources to meet the needs of the people. But in a situation where politicians put self-interest first before the people and decide to engage in 'money politics', this has led to political assassinations. They see political positions as a means of making money either through the award of contracts, or the monetary values attached to the positions they seek or out rightly looting of public funds rather than an avenue to serve the people. And when they feel someone is standing between them and this position they become ruthless and destructive and resort to killing.
The ineffectiveness and inefficiency of the national security outfits particularly the Police Force is a major reason why political assassination is stinking to high heavens in Nigeria. This is because the Police don't really deem it fit to arrest and try the culprits and their corroborators of those killed in Nigeria in the past and present as well as provide the needed security for members of the public. Those who engage in political assassination have taken undue advantage of the lapses in the security outfits of the country to continue in this act. They believe that the Nigeria security outfit has a record of not being able to unravel the mysteries behind the various cases of assassinations in the country. Dating back to history, there is hardly any case of political assassination that has been successfully unraveled.Chineke biko chebe anyi o.
For example, Alfred Rewane was shot and killed in Lagos during the Abacha regime on October 6, 1995 by unknown gunmen. Alfred Rewane it would be recalled was a vibrant politician who fought against the bad and unpopular policies of the Abacha regime.The case of Kudirat Abiola, wife of M.K.O Abiola, presidential candidate of the June 12, 1993 general elections. She was brutally murdered when she was shot by gunmen in
the streets of Lagos in her car on June 4, 1996. Late Kudirat Abiola was in the forefront of her late husband's political ambition trying to see that he made it through, even while he was in prison. She kicked against the annulment of the June 12 election, which her husband purportedly won. She was then taken out. Suliat Adedeji another prominent female politician from the South-West,Ibadan in particular was also assassinated on November 14, 1996.
Another and perhaps the most disheartening of them all was the bloody assassination of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Bola Ige. He was a member of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), one of the political parties that presented a candidate for the 1999 polls. Bola Ige was killed in his home in Ibadan, in the
Southwestern state of Oyo, on the 23rd December 2001.He was the highest-level politician to be killed in Nigeria since the government of President Obasanjo came to
power in 1999, and his case provoked a severe outcry in Nigeria. He apparently had come to spend the Christmas with his wife when a group of gunmen came into his house and shot him. Bola Ige had publicly stated that he was going to resign his ministerial appointment in order to actively take part in party politics. Though the motive for the murder is not confirmed, it was likely linked to a political crisis between the then Governor and Deputy Governor of Osun State, where Ige was from. Ige was perceived as
supporting the then Governor's faction. The circumstances and mysteries surrounding the late- minister's death leave more questions than answers. The negative impact of this is that the citizens of Nigeria are beginning to lose the confidence they have in the Police force. They are beginning to have a myopic sense of security.
While the nation still mourned the December 23, 2001 brutal murder of Bola Ige, the country was on January 7,2002 rudely awoken to the news of another murder. This time, it was that of Mr. S.A. Awoniyi, the confidential secretary to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais. Awoniyi was killed in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. He was not particularly involved in politics but it is believed that his position as the confidential secretary to the Chief Justice of Nigeria posed a threat to certain persons. He was found soaked in his blood, reportedly stabbed to death by unknown persons. The South-South Zone of the country, precisely Cross River State, experienced the spectra of violent death when Mr. Eyo Eyo was killed in his house in Calabar in
April 2002. Eyo Eyo was an information officer attached to the state's commissioner for agriculture. He was said to have been killed by seven gunmen who also shot and critically wounded his wife said to be nursing a four-month old baby
Another dramatic assassination is that of Marshal Harry, the national vice chairman for the South-South Zone of the largest opposition party, the All Nigeria Peoples' Party (ANPP). He was an important politician both nationally and within Rivers State, where he was known as a political “Kingmaker”. Marshal Harry, ironically, had condemned the killing of Bola Ige saying it was a national calamity. In his words “the murder of chief Bola Ige has dented the image of this country. Our image has been shattered and it would be difficult for us to redeem it.” After the 1999 elections, he was still a member of the Peoples' Democratic Party, PDP, and supported the Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili but he soon began to publicly disagree with Odili's policies and began a drive to ensure that he (Odili)would not return to power in 2003. He also began campaigning against President Obasanjo, and helped form the Campaign for the Realization of a South-South Presidency (CRESSOP). The PDP suspended Harry in 2001 because of these “anti-party” activities and the next year he joined the ANPP, which had long fielded Mohammed Buhari, Obsanjo's primary competitor in the presidential elections and former military head of state from the north. Harry became the ANPP's national vice chairman, with responsibility for the South-South zone of Nigeria covering his home state of Rivers and several other states of the Niger Delta area. He was a strong supporter of Sergeant Awuse, the ANPP's candidate for Rivers governorship and a bitter opponent of Governor Odili. He was killed few weeks before the elections. His death has been linked to the bad feeling between him and the Rivers State government. Harry was killed in Abuja on March5th, 2003. Marshal Harry's case, which appeared to be the only one to be conclusive, turned out not to be because the family of the deceased says that the killing was not an unfortunate case of armed robbery as the police claimed but a clear case of political assassination.
Reformers who criticize abuses of power have also been targets of political assassination in Nigeria. This was the case in Anambra state when Barnabas Igwe,chairman of the state branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, and his wife Abigail Amaka were ambushed in their car and brutally murdered in Onitsha, on September 1,2002. There is strong and credible evidence that their killing was politically motivated. Igwe had been a powerful public critic of Anambra's former Governor, Chinwoke Mbadi-nuju, openly calling for the governor's resignation due to his failure to pay government workers for several months. Igwe and other close colleagues who had denounced government abuses received direct threats from senior officials in the Anambra State government in the days preceding the killings. Close associates were also threat-ened soon after the killing.
The killing of Ogbonnaya Uche who was the All Nigeria Peoples' Party senatorial candidate in the south eastern state of Imo and former commissioner in the Imo state government is yet another case of political assassination. Ogbonnaya Uche, was shot in his home in Owerri on February 8, 2003, and died two days later. Speaking to journalist before his death in the hospital, Uche reportedly said he believed his attack was political, and explained that two days before the shooting, he had been trailed to the party secretariat by a group of armed men, who had asked his driver where he was. Uche was preparing to contest the April election for the Orlu senatorial zone, on the platform of the ANPP when he was assassinated. Another death in Imo shortly followed; Theodore Agwatu, principal secretary to the then Imo state governor(Udenwa), was shot and killed in his home on February 22. The motive for the killings was not confirmed in either case. Nevertheless, politicians in the state used the fact of the killings as a political weapon, as frequently occurs in Nigeria, seeking to lay blame, however prematurely, at their opponents' doorsteps.
Aminasoari K. Dikibo, Chairman of Peoples' Democratic Party, South South Zone was killed on 6 February 2004, equally under circumstances termed to be inexplicable. The murder of Dikibo was so mysterious that it has come under public scrutiny. Dikibo was accosted while on his way to attend a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the party.Orji Uzor Kalu once said that Dikibo told him (Orji) that some High Politicians in Abuja were after him.Joining the list of victims of political assassinations is Alhaji Lateef Olaniyan, a close associate of the strongman of Ibadan politics,Late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu both of the Peoples' Democratic Party. Lateef Olaniyan became an unfortunate victim of political assassination on July 16, 2005 when he was shot in his car at Ibadan, very close to his residence. Prior to his killing, he had been trailed by some unknown men to the party secretariat some days preceding his assassination. The family of the deceased has linked the killing to the government of the state. This is because of the feud between then Governor Rashidi Ladoja and late Lamidi Adedibu. And Lateef Olaniyan was the acolyte of Lamidi Adedibu.
Peter Eboigbe, a Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, was killed in Benin City on August 11, 2005 by suspected hired assassins. Peter Eboigbe had shortly declared his intention to run for the position of Chairman of Oredo Local Government in Edo State. The youths who took to the streets in protest of the killing sealed the secretariat of the Oredo Local Government and alleged that the killing was because Peter Eboigbe had declared his intention to contest the forthcoming Local Government chairmanship election
This spate of unresolved cases of killings is giving Nigerians cause for worry. The high profile assassination cases of prominent politicians discussed above, the places they resided, and the positions they held as at the time of their assassination show that they fall under a significant grouping( opposition group). This is because the victims of political assassination mentioned were at their point of assassination in opposition, directly or otherwise to the ruling government.Who is killing Who?
Nigerians still want to know who killed Dele Giwa.Dele Giwa was killed in Lagos on October 19 ,1986 via parcel bomb.Who killed Babatunde Elegbede on May 5, 1994 in Lagos?Who killed Lekan Owolabi on March 1995 in Lagos? Police must tell us Who killed Captain Tunde Ashafa on June 11, 1995 in Lagos..Who killed Mr. Alfred Rewane on October 6,1995 in Lagos? Nigerians still want to know who killed David Izegwere on December 1995 in Lagos.What about the shooting and killing of Kayode Awosanya on January 1996 in Lagos
Who killed Mrs Tajudeen Abiola on February 9, 1996 in Lagos.These case s are still unresolved. Nigerians are watching, keeping records about these killings. Killers should be brought to book.
Why must we allow the killers of Alhaji Sama Kano on April 8, 1996 in Lagos to go free.
We want to know who killed Admiral Olu Omotehinwa on May 22, 1996 in Lagos.
We want to know who shot and killed Mrs. Irene Obodo sometime in june 1996 in Lagos.
Nigerians want to know who killed Alhaja Kudirat Abiola on June 4, 1996 in Lagos.
We will be happy if the killers of Chief Adejola Balogun on June 15, 1996 in Lagos are caught..
Who killed Mrs Esther A. Tejuoso on September 19,1996 in Lagos?
The list is long .Alhaja Suliat Adedeji was shot and killed in Ibadan on November 14, 1996 .The case is still unresolved. Who killed Toyin Onagoruwa on December 1996 in Lagos?
Who killed Engr. Adesoji A. Dina. On September 1998 in Lagos?
Who killed Kola TokunboJanuary 31, 1999 in Lagos .Case still Unresolved?
Who killed Patrick Okoye on January 31, 1999 in Lagos?
Police must tell us who killed Sunday Ugwu on September 9, 1999 in Enugu.This case is still unresolved.Who killed Igwe Francis Nwankwo on February 15, 2000 in Anambra.
Police still never tell us who killed Nicholas Okhuakhua sometime in June 2000 in Lagos.
We still dey ask who killed Mohammed Shuaibu sometime in September 2000 in Lagos.
Who killed Obatou Mumbo on October 17, 2000 in Onitsha?
Who killed Idowu Braimoh on November 5, 2000 in Ondo.?
Na who kom shoot and kill Joseph Osayande on December 4, 2000 in Benin.?
Remember Chief Layi Balogun? Who shot him to death on December 10, 2000 in Lagos?
Many people in Rivers State are still asking who killed Monday Ndor on August 19, 2001 in Port Harcourt.Monday Ndor was Representing Ogoni in the Rivers State House of Assembly during the tenure of Governor Peter Odilli of Rivers State. Who killed Onyebuchi Ede on August 23, 2001 in Ebonyi? Who kom kill Chibueze Idah on August 23, 2001 in Ebonyi?
Police never still tell us who killed Ogbonna Odimbaiwe on August 23, 2001 in Ebonyi ?
Ifeanyi Nnaji was killed on August 23, 2001 in Ebonyi. Case still unresolved.
Odunayo Olagbaju was shot and killed on December 20, 2001 in Ife.No clue yet to the killers.
Mr. S.A. Awoniyi was stabbed to death on January 7, 2002 in Abuja.Case still unresolved.
How many Nigerians have to lose their lives before the Police will come to the realization that something is terribly wrong with our security system? Why do we have the police if police can not assure us of our safety? Why do we have the Police if killers continue to go free in Nigeria.Why do we have the police if known Militants and Warlords of the Creek in the Niger Delta are celebrated as freedom fighters? Killers cannot continue to walk as free men in Nigeria. I call on you to expose, prosecute and convict these men that are killing our prominent men and women and Nigerians will never forget you in a hurry.Ndenwo sir.