Speakers at the 20th Bola Ige memorial symposium have called on PresidentMuhammadu Buhari to investigate the killing of the late Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, and bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book before his tenure runs out on May 29, 2023.
They made the call during the memorial symposium titled, ‘Two Decades of Injustice: What are the implications on Nigerian Democracy?’ held at Banquet Hall, Lagos Airport Hotel, in Ikeja, Lagos State.
The speakers-Comrade Awa Bamiji, President, Bola Ige Centre for Justice; Chief Niyi Akintola(SAN); and Dr Olu Agunloye, former Minister of Power and Steel Development, described the assassination of Ige as senseless and barbaric.
Awa, who is also the President-General, Grand Council of Yoruba of Youths, said the Bola Ige Centre for Justice since its establishment in December 2004, has been building upon the laudable legacies and ideals of the late Minister of Justice, promising that the centre will not rest on its oars until justice is done to what he described as most famous murder case in Nigeria.
“Who Killed Bola Ige? This is a poser for all of them, led by Mr President. I want to tell them today that the whole world is watching the politics behind the murder of Bola Ige and its key actors since 20 years ago. I pray history will be kind to this present government at the end of the day,”Awa said.
Awa, who also decried the level of insecurity in the country, charged Buhari to take the bull by the horn in combating insecurity.
“His kinsmen, the Northerners are feeling the brunt more than the Southern part of the country and as he hopes to retire into their midst in May 2023, he needs to change tactics now,” he said.
He commended the unrelenting efforts of the Federal Government on infrastructural development, poverty alleviation programmes, increase in the salary of policemen, recognition of June 12 as the country’s democracy day, increase in farm products’ export among others.
Speaking, the guest speaker and Oyo State All Progressives Congress(APC) governorship aspirant, Akintola, described the assassination of Ige at his Ibadan residence as the climax of assassinations in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, adding that the foundation of security challenges confronting the nation now was laid by the incident.
“Any right thinking government would deploy machineries to unravel the mysterious killing and assassination of Chief Bola Ige and that of other citizens whose lives were gruesomely taken,” Akintola said.
The legal icon said despite the claim of being a democratic country, Nigeria has continued to, at an alarming rate, suffered human rights violations resulting from security challenges, youth unemployment, poverty and decaying judicial system.
“These violations include kidnappings, assassinations, extra-judicial killings, injustice, rape, violence, inequalities, inhuman and degrading treatment, discrimination and above all, impunity, weak institutions and lack of political will to hold perpetrators accountable,” he said.
Akintola, who noted that there is a need to entrench respect for human and fundamental rights to curtail the current challenges bedeviling the country, said that Injustice to Ige is injustice to all.
“We must all undertake to speak in one unified voice of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and justice for all,” the senior advocate added.
Another guest speaker, Agunloye, in his address described the killing of Ige as brutal, senseless, barbaric, and hurtful, stressing that it should not be misconstrued as an injustice.
“It is only a sign, a signature, a symbol and a symptom of bad governance, corruption and failure in the polity.
“Injustice is denial of access to wealth, education, employments and resources as well as social, economic and political relationships amongst the people, making a few become greatly privileged with access to wealth, resources and power while the less privileged become more greatly underdeveloped,” the former minister said.
According to Agunloye, Nigeria has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of government no longer function properly, noting that the 2021 report on Fragile States Index ranked Nigeria as the 12th most fragile state in the world.
He said this was characterised by weak state capacity or weak state legitimacy, leaving citizens vulnerable to Boko Haram, banditry, criminals kidnapping for money and a range of unwarranted dangers capable of undermining or destroying democracy.
“Insecurity has become the face of multiple crisis associated with bad governance in Nigeria. There has been unabating reign of terror and actions of insurrectionists, agitators and outright criminalities which have crippled economic activities, significantly battered peace and the national social architecture. Socio-economic crisis has become pervasive and caused significant damages to the national fabric while the country steadily spirals into full blown chaos making the slide to anarchy look virtually uncontrollable,” he said.
Agunloye charged Nigerians to listen to the wake-up call by Sultan of Sokoto that, “Nigeria is in trouble because of the citizens’ misdeeds, corruption and political recklessness, leading to banditry, insurgency and political rascality causing loss of lives in the country.”
He called for an urgent need to stop the breeding multiplicity effects of injustice like banditry, kidnapping, cannibalism, rapping, general social and economic disorders leading to more agitations and youths taking to crimes, rituals and significant numbers of them committing suicide.
“This is why the Mr President and his government should stop the slide to anarchy now and avoid further actions that could bring the country to its knees through breakdown of law and order, and he should also brace up to stop the security challenges in order to avoid sliding into total chaos,” Agunloye said.
Meanwhile, the family of the late Ige will on Thursday, December 23, 2021, hold a memorial communion service in his honour at St Anne’s Church, Molete, Ibadan.
The former governor of the state was assassinated exactly 20 years ago at his Ibadan residence by yet to be identified gunmen.
Architect Muyiwa Ige, the scion of the family informed newsmen that the thanksgiving event will start by 1pm.
“We are hopeful that close associates of our late dad will honor us with their presence at the church on Thursday. It will be brief,” the former commissioner in Osun State said.
He added that a stage play will be on at the same time at the Wole Soyinka Arts Theater, University of Ibadan. The theme of the play is Ige: From Kaduna Boy to Cicero of Esa Oke.