NOBEL l laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reopen the murder case of the late former Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige, who was assassinated in his home in Ibadan on December 23, 2001. Chief Ige was 71.
In a message to Chief Ige’s daughter, Funso Adegbola, Prof Soyinka described the late politician as “a remarkable individual.”
The message was to be delivered by Prof Soyinka at the “20th Year of Bola Ige Memorial Symposium, Two Decades of Injustice: What are the Implications on Nigerian Democracy,” organised by the Bola Ige for Justice Centre in Lagos on Tuesday. Prof Soyinka, however, was unable to attend but sent his regrets, attributing his absence to an “11th-hour, sadly insurmountable impediment.”
In his message, Soyinka asked what had become of the president’s “robust pledge” to open an enquiry into the spate of political murders across Nigeria. “Does it all amount to yet another instance of political bravado?” he asked.
“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.”
Soyinka said unsolved murders breed a culture of impunity and put the country at risk. “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,” Soyinka said.