Ray Ekpu, co-founder of Newswatch magazine, has dismissed the allegation of Chris Omeben, a retired police officer, who accused him of hiding the prime suspect in the murder of late Dele Giwa.
Omeben accused Kayode Soyinka, London correspondent of Newswatch at the time, of being behind Giwa’s death, saying Ekpu shielded Soyinka from justice.
“I have enough evidence to quiz Soyinka now. Please, Ray Ekpu can I have Soyinka now?” he asked in an interview with NAN.
“They resisted up till today. Up till today, Soyinka never appeared before the police. They started to insinuate that the assassination was masterminded by Babangida, Akilu etc.”
But in an interview with TheCable, Ekpu said the truth about the death of Giwa is in the open, that Nigerians know who his killers are.
“This man thinks that people’s memories have faded, so he can twist and turn as he likes, but I don’t think people’s memories are that short,” he said.
“Kayode Soyinka was in the country for more than two months, the police interviewed him and also interviewed us, so I don’t know at what point we shielded him.
“As our correspondent in London, Kayode only came for consultation a few days before this incident happened and stayed with Dele just the same way, we stayed with him anytime we went to London. So, there was nothing, absolutely nothing unusual about that.
“Will a guy who wants to use a bomb and kill someone stay in the same room with him? Would he stay in the same room while the bomb explodes? Will he know the extent of the damage that the bomb will create? I’m not a security man but I doubt it, except you are a suicide bomber.
“Besides, Kayode’s ears were perforated and he couldn’t hear for months. The bomb had an effect on him. You know he was seated opposite Dele as he opened the parcel. They were together; now tell me how it is possible for a man who knows something about bomb to sit inches away from the man who was opening the parcel? Does that sound credible? Doesn’t that sound preposterous to you? Who knew anything about parcel bombs at that time? Who ever thought that a bomb could be sent through a letter in 1986 Nigeria?”
Ekpu said Soyinka had nothing to gain by taking Giwa’s life and went down memory lane in recalling that the parcel sent to Giwa was from Ibrahim Babangida, who was then the commander-in-chief.
Ekpu added that Giwa had been receiving parcels from Babangida before the incident of his death.
“I remember at least two incidents when Dele called me to say, ‘I just got a letter from the president’ and what did he normally send? He sent parcels, that is if he was going to deliver a speech, he will send an advance copy so that Dele can put it in the magazine to meet our production time,” he said.
“On another occasion, he requested Dele to draft his speech for him and Dele called me and we drafted his speech for him.”
He said Omoben stopped the investigation into Giwa’s death, adding that one of the police officers (believed to be Abubakar Tsav) involved in the investigation provided evidence that was used against Giwa’s killer at the court.
“This same Omoben was the one who stopped one of the officers who was doing the investigation. That officer later became a commissioner of police of Lagos. He has a report which was published in our book, ‘Justice in the Jungle’. I did the story on the assassination and it’s perhaps the most comprehensive and most authentic story done on the assassination of Dele Giwa. Nobody has contradicted the information contained in that book.
“In a different interview, this same Omenben said there was a scuffle between the directors of Newswatch and Dele and that was absolute falsehood, absolute fabrication. He never allowed the case of Dele’s death to go far. The investigator told us and it was published copiously in various newspapers. He provided information to Gani Fawehinmi (Giwa’s lawer), which was used in court but they frustrated him.
“Omeben is a fake man. He keeps changing the story, now he is pinning it on Kayode Soyinka, at that time he was pinning it on the three of us – Yakubu Mohammed, Dan Agbese and Ray Ekpu. Now, he is changing the story again.”