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No surprises here

BEFORE investigations into the assassination of Chief  Funso Williams, a Lagos State governorship aspirant began, three years ago, most Nigerians felt the killers would not be found. The case is rarely mentioned these days.

Another side to search for killers is the ease with which personnel of the police, army, navy and now air force kill civilians over minor disputes. The killers are never found.

Pessimism about the willingness of the authorities to fish out murderers, assassins and trigger happy security agents has deep roots.

Hardly a year passed in the last ten years without a notable politician being assassinated. Police investigations, in all cases, failed to resolve the matter. The police blames the public for not supplying it with information on the cases, partly stating that elsewhere, the police depends on information from the public in those celebrated investigations that Nigerians use for comparisons.

How does the Inspector-General of Police feel about the public’s lack of confidence in the police to resolve killings? What would the President, who has sworn to the constitutional demand in Section 14 (2b): “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government,” do this time?

Unresolved attempted and successful assassinations date years back. Twenty-six years ago, gunmen invaded the Lagos home of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, fired many shots on him and left him for dead. Police investigations were futile. Chief Ume-Ezeoke survived and still has a scared face from the incident.

He was lucky. Chief James Bola Ige was assassinated as the Attorney-General of the Federation in December 2001 in his home. Chief Marshall Harry of the All Nigerian Peoples Party and Chief Aminosoari Dikibo, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party were also killed.

Chief Andrew Agom, a former Managing Director of Nigeria Airways, a PDP chieftain, was shot dead in the company of former Benue State Governor, Chief George Akume. There were politically motivated killings in Kogi, Kwara, Imo and Kano states that have not been resolved.

Others assassinated include out-spoken pilot, Jerry Agbeyegbe, Mr. Barnabas Igwe, Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association in Onitsha and his wife, Abigail, Mr. Victor Nwankwo, younger brother of politician Arthur Nwankwo, and Hajiya Abubakar Rimi, wife of the former PDP politician. In all these cases, the police started with complicated explanations of its investigations and ended with emphatic silence.

Dele Giwa, a prominent journalist, was killed with a letter bomb twenty-three years ago. His killers remain unknown.

Investigations of The Guardian’s Bayo Ohu are following this beaten path. Nigerians lose their lives in this dastardly manner, yet some people who are paid to protect us are joining in killing Nigerians and nobody asks them to account.

To crack the riddle of assassinations in Nigeria would take a lot of hard work, integrity and a decision to stop these killings. It does not seem this is among matters that cross the busy minds of the authorities.


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