A court has directed the Federal Government to resume the prosecution of individuals implicated in the assassination of Dele Giwa.


In a landmark ruling on Friday, a Federal High Court in Abuja mandated the Federal Government to thoroughly investigate, prosecute, and penalize those responsible for the assassination of Dele Giwa, the esteemed founder of Newswatch Magazine, along with other journalists across the nation.

Dele Giwa tragically lost his life on October 19, 1989, when a letter bomb detonated in his Lagos office. Justice Inyang Ekwo, delivering the judgment, further ordered the government to implement measures aimed at preventing future attacks on journalists and media professionals in Nigeria. The verdict followed a suit brought forth by the Incorporated Trustees of Media Rights Agenda against the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The motion filed sought a declaration that the killings of journalists and media practitioners in Nigeria constituted a violation of their fundamental right to life, as enshrined in Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. The affidavit presented by the group listed several journalists who had tragically lost their lives while discharging their duties.

Justice Ekwo noted the absence of a counterargument from the Attorney-General’s office and emphasized the constitutional imperative to safeguard journalists and media practitioners in the course of their work. He ruled in favor of the applicant, stating that their case had been substantiated by credible evidence.

Consequently, the court issued a series of orders directing the Federal Government to take decisive actions. These included measures to prevent attacks on journalists, prosecute perpetrators of such attacks, ensure access to effective remedies for victims, and raise awareness among stakeholders about laws and standards for safeguarding journalists and media practitioners.

In conclusion, Justice Ekwo’s ruling underscores the critical importance of protecting press freedom and ensuring the safety of journalists in Nigeria, serving as a significant step towards justice and accountability in cases of violence against media professionals.

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