37 years after: Court orders FG to probe Giwa, other journalists’ death

Thirty-seven years after he was killed via a letter bomb in Lagos, a Federal High Court sitting in has ordered the Federal Government to investigate and prosecute the killers of Mr Dele Giwa, a founder of Newswatch Magazine and other journalists killed between 1986 till 2023.

The Incorporated Trustees of Media Rights Agenda had sued the Attorney-General of the Federation seeking several reliefs including a declaration that the killing of Nigerian journalists is a violation of their fundamental rights to life.

The organisation also sought the enforcement of the fundamental rights of media practitioners to safety as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution and African Charter on Human Rights.

MRA alleged further that some journalists are still being harassed by security agencies with the AGF allegedly doing nothing about it.

In his verdicts, Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered the Federal Government to ensure adequate protection and safety of the lives of journalists as enshrined in Sections 33, and 39 of the Constitution and Articles 4 and 9 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights.

He held further that the AGF, being the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, is under obligation to prosecute and penalize killers of media practitioners in the country.

“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,” Ekwe said.

He also ordered the FG to ensure adequate protection and safety of the lives of journalists as enshrined in Sections 33, and 39 of the Constitution and Articles 4 and 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

“An order is hereby made directing the Federal Government of Nigeria 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,” Ekwo added.

He also ordered the FG to put in place measures that would prevent journalists from attacks.

“An order is hereby made directing the Federal Government of Nigeria to take measures to prevent attacks on journalists and other media practitioners,” Ekwo added.

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