About three weeks ago, I was home in the evening watching CNN to follow developments around the globe when my phone beeped. By the time I checked, it was a broadcast on one of the whatsApp chat platforms that I belong to. Instantly, the caption of the post attracted my attention: ’30 years after, the long awaited confirmation about Dele Giwa’s death’.

As someone who has spent years in the intelligence and law enforcement community, I wanted to read through the post to see if there are hard facts there. At the end, I was not only disappointed but also equally angry that the post was based on allegations made in an interview by one Dr Taiyemiwo Ogunade some years ago.

An attempt by me to do a background check on the said Ogunade did not only yield volumes about his person but I was able to establish through available materials that he was on a vendetta mission when he granted the interview way back in 2009. But what manner of bitterness would make a man make two grievous allegations against two eminent Nigerians: respected Professor of political economy, Muyibi Amoda, and the acclaimed brilliant retired army general, Buba Marwa, who had distinguished himself in the military and governance. Ogunade had linked both gentlemen to an alleged $30m grant deal in New York City College and Marwa to the death of celebrated journalist Dele Giwa based on a story he claimed he heard from some soldiers several years back. Both Ogunade and Amoda had worked at New York City College but the institution later sacked Ogunade.

Amoda provided the most profound response to Ogunade’s stand and as such will like to quote a portion of that here before drawing conclusions.
Amoda said, “Ogunade implies that the negotiation between Brig-General Marwa and the City College was mediated by me; that I persuaded the college to receive the grant; but because of his protests, the college fired him and returned the money to Brig-General Marwa.    This aspect of the story I can categorically state as a figment of a pathologically confused imagination.    I never met Brigadier-General Marwa at City College or anywhere as the emissary of President Moses.   

Ogunade asserts that money was received by the college and that presumably would be through me.    There was no such giving and receiving of $30million at City College; City College returned no such grant which should have been a grant to the Department of Black Studies of which I was the Chair.    There was therefore no such $30million, which was returned to Brig-General Marwa; there was no such money, which was not returned to the treasury of the Nigerian Government.    The City College drama in which President Moses, Professor John Moyibi Amoda and Brig-General Marwa featured was an invention of Ogunade.   

No such thing happened under President Yoland T. Moses and during my tenure as the Chair of Black Studies.    If Ogunade could create such a story from his imaginings, can anyone doubt that his story about Dele Giwa is no invention?”

The reappearance of the discredited 2009 interview by Ogunade, in a manner that suggests it as new in December 2016, is worrisome. The reappearance is clearly a malicious attempt by person(s) to undermine the credibility of the two eminent personalities, assail the psyche of discerning minds and also malign the reputation of well- meaning Nigerians.

My take on this is that Amoda and Marwa in their separate responses in 2009 and, especially facts on the ground, have in actual sense conspired to expose the inaccuracies in Ogunade’s interview. As a Nigerian, this obvious, deliberate and calculated attempt to taint the reputation of fellow citizens bothers me, hence my intervention. These claims are malicious.

Besides, memos published by Amoda also confirm that he exchanged correspondence with Gen Chris Garuba and not Marwa who had by then left as Nigeria’s Defence Attache to the UN.

Just as consequential, the lead investigator of Giwa’s murder case, former Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Chris Omeben, conducted a lineup of suspects at the time, and none had anything with Marwa.

Ogunade is clearly not a man lacking in grandiosity. Ogunade actually thinks it believable that Nigerian military officials would travel to New York and share what would be classified information with him. Why, as who, as what? I am sure if Ogunnade has a fixed address, by now he would be battling with a libel suit from the two gentlemen he tried hard to soil their reputation. I think charlatans like this should not be given space by our news media platforms to damage reputations others have built by dint of hard work so as to preserve their credibility.

Durotimi Daramola lives in Area 3, Abuja.

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