- Category: Society
- Published on Wednesday, 20 October 2010 11:53
- Written by The Nation
- Hits: 839
It was promise fulfilled yesterday. Widows of slain journalists Bayo Ohu and Edo Ugbagwu were presented keys to three-bedroom apartments by the Lagos State Government.
The government had made the promise after the lives of Ohu of The Guardian and Edo Ugbagwu of The Nation were snuffed out in gruesome manner. Both were shot dead by yet to be known assailants.
The 24th anniversary of the assassination of another journalist, the late Dele Giwa, presented the opportunity to make the house promise a reality. Giwa was blown on October 19, 1986, during the regime of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
Yesterday was also the public presentation of a book, Murder of Dele Giwa: The Answered Question, by foremost journalist and activist, Mt Richard Akinnola.
The keys to the apartments located in Shasha on the outskirts of Lagos were brought by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Opeyemi Bamidele. He also delivered the allocation papers.
Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye presented the keys to Ugbagwu’s widow and Mrs Ganiyat Fawehinmi, widow of foremost lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, presented the keys to Mrs Ohu.
Rights activists and journalists used the occasion to demand the reopening of investigation into Giwa’s murder.
In a lecture titled: “Impunity in Nigeria: Linking the Past with the Present,” Prof. Pat Utomi said those who desire to limit society’s freedom often first threaten people and institutions that guar d the social conscience and the popular will, such as the media.
He said Giwa was a victim of such experience.
Utomi regretted that Nigeria had witnessed what he described as progressive degeneration of values to the point of collapse of culture.
According to him, under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), there had been a prolonged absolute power masquerading as democracy.
He said under such condition, “impunity can become so the norm that a society can unwittingly slide towards a polarisation with deep cleavages of the nature that trigger revolution.”
Utomi said: “Impunity typically becomes the norm when checks and balances are eroded and the rule of law fails. Impunity breeds uncertainty and that produces high transaction costs. This means challenged competitiveness for the economy.
“I have no doubt that impunity has cost Nigeria dearly in terms of investment decisions and economic growth.”
He added that the willful frustration of the Freedom of Information Bill (FOIB) has reduced the capacity and the ability of citizens to question those who have power.
“In Nigeria, as elsewhere, a free and responsible media is a bulwark of citizenship right and duty.