Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, says he is willing to be involved in legal proceedings to unravel the killers of a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige.
Soyinka made his position known while speaking on Thursday at a media interaction in Lagos titled, “Forget the past, forfeit the future: A nation seceding from humanity.”
On Saturday, Soyinka queried President Muhammadu Buhari’s sincerity to re-launch an investigation into Ige’s murder following the appointment of the prime suspect in the case, Iyiola Omisore, as the National Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
According to Soyinka, Omisore’s latest appointment and acceptance by Buhari is a major setback in the pursuance of justice in Ige’s murder.
He said, “Barely three months have passed since the 20th anniversary of the murder of the late Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Bola Ige, an occasion that I utilised to remind President Muhammadu Buhari of a subsisting election pledge.
“That pledge was to re-open the files on the spate of unsolved political assassinations that had plagued the nation in recent decades. Prominent among those cases was that of the Minister of Justice, murdered on his way to take up a prestigious position with the United Nations.
“Presidential response was swift. Buhari ordered the Inspector-General of Police to re-open those files and resume investigations. The nation has patiently awaited even a hint of work in progress. Most, I am certain, expect no less than a revaluation of prior investigative efforts. None, to my knowledge, has attempted to rush the chief of police and his team into judgment. We all take solace in the knowledge that the wheels of justice grind slowly, but they arrive. Eventually.”
Ige was murdered on December 23, 2001 in Ibadan, Oyo State. Omisore, alongside some persons were arrested and tried for involvement in his killing, none ever faced any sentence as they were all acquitted.
Reacting, Omisore instructed his lawyer to write the elder statesman demanding a retraction of the comments.
However, during the press interaction on Thursday, Soyinka insisted that Omisore should not have been made a secretary of the ruling party.
“That doesn’t mean you were responsible for the person’s death. But certain actions led to other actions.
We are talking of the party of those in charge of the governance and justice of this country. The leadership of APC and I am not talking of Buhari alone, do you have to unleash scorpions on our memory?
“It is not Soyinka who provided this. It’s those who were so insensitive, who rubbed that murder in our faces. I will be delighted to go to court so that we can go into details,” Soyinka said.
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, promised to provide legal assistance to Soyinka if a litigation was opened against him.
Falana noted, “If you are sued, we will represent you free of charge because you are taking on a public issue.”
The lawyer added that there are several other cases of human rights abuses that go unpunished in Nigeria as he noted that he was not only demanding answers with regards to Bola Ige’s death, other named and unnamed Nigerians who had been victims are entitled to justice.