The assassination of Chief Aminasoari Kala Dikibo former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Deputy National Chairman, South-South, in February 2004, and Bola Ige, one of Nigeria’s most vibrant lawyers and politicians in December 2001 is over a decade, but people suspected to have been involved in the plots are shivering as President Muhammadu Buhari is set to open the record books that justice may reign. Both deaths were politically motivated.
Chief Dikibo, ambushed by suspected assassins when returning to his base from Abuja after a meeting, was killed near Asaba, Delta State, on October 22, 2004. The basis for Dikibo’s assassination at the time was traced to political disparity with the powers that be, few weeks ahead of the general elections. Until his death, he was the PDP Deputy National Chairman, South-South.
Linked to Dikibo’s death was Dr. Cairo Ojougboh who hurriedly took over Dikibo’s position in the party following his death; this led to concerned individuals and groups calling the Nigeria Police to investigate Ojougboh concerning the murder.
Justice Anthony Akpovi of an Ogwashi-Uku High Court gave a verdict ordering two persons, Onyeka Emordi and Solomon Igbinedion to die by hanging for taking part in the killing of Chief Aminasoari Dikibo. This was in 2008, four years after the murder in his car along Ogwashi-Uku/Kwale Road in Delta State on February 6, 2004.
The judge held that “evidence before the court linked the accused persons to the crime as the confessional statement of the accused persons corroborated the statement of the prosecution witness, which linked the accused persons to the possession of fire- arms on the day Dikibo was murdered.”
James Ajibola Idowu Adegoke Ige, popularly called Bola Ige was a Senior Advocate of Nigeria born on September 13, 1930, in Zaria (Kaduna) to Yoruba parents from Esa-Oke town, in the old Oyo State (now in Osun State). Until his death on December 23, 2001, he was Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice for Nigeria.
Bola Ige arrived his Bodija house in Ibadan around 8.30pm from Lagos after he had a meeting with some political stalwarts; few minutes later unknown gun men stormed the building around 9.00pm.
The gunmen had waited patiently within the premise, on arrival of the target; they stormed the house, tied up all the family members and locked them in a room except one who led them to Chief Bola Ige’s room upstairs pointing. The lawyer was shot on the chest and the murderers escaped. The specific reason for the murder is not known. While some speculated that Bola Ige was killed to halt the rise in his political profile, others felt it was a price he had to pay for his impending probe of the corruption in the country’s power sector.
Bola Ige was adored by many people because of his oratory prowess, mastery of the three major Nigerian languages (Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa) and his advocacy work on civil rights and democracy.
Among those suspected to have a hand in his murder were members of the Alliance for Democracy party in Osun State. Senator Iyiola Omisore was one of the people arrested and tried in 2002 for the murder but none of those arrested was acquitted till date.
The former deputy governor of Osun State, Iyiola Omisore, who was detained for months by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as a suspect in the killing of Mr. Ige, recently boasted that he was sure his name will be cleared at the end of the investigation.
The Osun State PDP Chieftain who is currently facing charges of corruption said it was a good thing and an index of development that the Federal Government will be revisiting Chief Ige’s case as well as others. In his words: “I am particularly happy that fresh investigation will further exonerate me and others who were wrongfully framed up, suffered untold hardship before we were finally acquitted and discharged by the court.
“I pray that God will expose all the people and whoever is connected to all the killings under investigation while I wish the new IG the best of luck in the task.”
Before now, the Nigerian Police has been accused of incompetence in handling murder cases in Nigeria.
Just like many other Nigerians, Architect Muyiwa Ige, son of late Chief Bola Ige, said that it would be celebrated, if the family could get justice 16 years after. In his words: “I knew right from the advent of the administration of President Buhari that the matter would be resurrected. The President is in the right direction. To God be the glory. It’s a new day; we are happy, we will get justice after 16 years.
“We are happy that all those who murdered our father, including the star witness, will be brought to justice. It’s good news.”
While many credit the presidency for this decision, an insider disclosed that the reopening of the cases was an initiative of the current police management, that is, Acting Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris which the President could not oppose since it was aimed at ensuring justice.
- Seyifunmi Adebote for encomium.ng