“Unsolved crimes only lead to a culture of impunity”, said Professor Wole Soyinka, on the 20th anniversary of Chief Bola Ige, the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
On 23 December 2001, Ige was shot dead at his country home in the south-western city of Ibadan. Many were arrested and tried for involvement in the murder but were acquitted afterwards.
As at this moment, the killers are yet to be found. However, 20 years later, Soyinka queried President Muhammadu Buhari to make public the outcome of his investigations on Bola Ige’s death.
In a letter he addressed to Mrs Funso Adegbola, daughter of late Ige, Soyinka condemned what he called the “spate of political murders” asking President Buhari what happened to his promise of opening enquiry into the spate of murders the country has witnessed in recent years.
With the theme “20TH YEAR OF BOLA IGE MEMORIAL SYMPOSIUM, 2 DECADES OF INJUSTICE: WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS ON NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY” organised by the BOLA IGE FOR JUSTICE CENTRE, the event witnessed prominent personalities that spoke against injustices in the country.
Read the message bellow:
My dear Funso,
An eleventh-hour, sadly insurmountable impediment, alas, prevents my joining you on this bitter-sweet occasion. Bitter for obvious reasons, but also a source of joy, since it provides yet another opportunity for celebrating the passage of a remarkable individual – your late father — through the lives of the rest of us yet living. Let us be unstinting in our sustaining reminiscences.
I particularly regret my absence, as it provides a mandatory, inescapable occasion for directing a question at the nation’s current leader, President Buhari, a DEMAND that the entire nation, no matter the political inclination of her citizens, is morally obliged to make. MY message proceeds:
PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, WHAT HAS BECOME OF YOUR ROBUST PLEDGE TO OPEN AN ENQUIRY INTO THE SPATE OF POLITICAL MURDERS THAT THE NATION HAS UNDERGONE IN RECENT YEARS?
DOES IT ALL AMOUNT TO YET ANOTHER INSTANCE OF POLITICAL BRAVADO? WHILE WE ALL ACCEPT THAT ALL LIVES SHOULD BE VALUED EQUALLY, SOME IMPOSE A SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY ON THOSE IN GOVERNANCE.
BOLA IGE, AS THE NATION’S MINISTER OF JUSTICE, AND UNITED NATIONS’ CIVIL SERVANT DESIGNATE, WAS UNARGUABLY ONE SUCH. A NATION’S HONOUR IS IN QUESTION AND REMAINS SO UNTIL THE HOUR OF CLOSURE. THUS, SHE MUST NEVER RELENT IN DEMANDING AN EXPLANATION FOR HIS BRUTAL MURDER, EXPOSE THE PERPETRATORS, IDENTIFY THE CONSPIRATORS AND REINSTATE THE BROKEN LINES OF JUSTICE.
AT THE VERY LEAST, WE NEED A FORMAL DECLARATION REGARDING THOSE WHO DISPLAYED AN ABNORMAL INTEREST IN THE FATES OF THOSE ACCUSED, TO A LEVEL OF PROVEN, DOCUMENTED INTERFERENCE BOTH IN THE INVESTIGATIVE PROCESS AND WITHIN THE JUDICIARY. I AM NOT ALONE IN HAVING WRITTEN AND LECTURED ON THESE SORDID ASPECTS THAT FUELLED THE SUBVERSION OF JUSTICE. THERE ARE SURVIVING WITNESSES.
UNSOLVED CRIMES ONLY LEAD TO A CULTURE OF IMPUNITY. THIS PUTS THE ENTIRE NATION AT RISK, NO MATTER THE PRIVILEGE OF HIGH-LEVEL PROTECTION. THIS IS A LESSON THAT NIGERIAN LEADERSHIP HAS YET TO LEARN.
PRESIDENT BUHARI, SHARE THE REWARDS OF YOUR INVESTIGATIONS – IF ANY!!!