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Remembering Dele Giwa, Nigeria’s hero of journalism 34 years after


It’S 34 years today since the flaming journalist, Dele Giwa, was killed via a parcel bomb, a novel manner of assassination. The question today remains unanswered: Who killed Dele Giwa?

He is remembered for his famous quote: “Nigeria is on fire and the citizens are amused”. Giwa was one of Nigerian’s strongest journalists, who many referred to as the man with the mighty pen. He died on this day in 1986 at the age of 39.

Two years earlier, in 1984, he and other journalists, Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese and Yabuku Mohammed, founded the Newswatch magazine, which redefined investigative journalism in Nigeria. The first edition was distributed on 28 January 1985. A 1989 description of the magazine said it “changed the format of print journalism in Nigeria and introduced bold, investigative formats to news reporting in Nigeria”.


In 1985, the paper attracted the attention of the new military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida, which it praised in the beginning. By 1986, he had become a terror and irked the new administration because of the Newswatch criticisms.

Giwa studied English at the Brooklyn College, USA and graduated in 1977. He proceeded to Fordham University for his graduate school.
He returned to Nigeria thereafter, and he immediately got a job with Daily Times newspaper.

Giwa died after opening a parcel bomb at his residence in the Lagos state capital, Ikeja. 34 years after, his assassination has become one of the most high profile cold cases in the country. His untimely death was a big blow to Nigerian journalism, and an ugly slap on the face of the profession.


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Dele Giwa
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