General Kunle Togun, the former director of Military intelligence and ex-deputy director of States Security Service (SSS) during the General Ibrahim Babangida’s regime has given another side of the story on the circumstances surrounding the death of Dele Giwa, the founder and editor-in-chief of Newswatch magazine.
General Kunle Togun again dissociated himself from the alleged murder of Dele Giwa. The renown journalist was killed on October 19, 1986. Togun was one of the top military officers that were accused of masterminding Giwa’s death.
In an exclusive interview with a Legit.ng’s reporter Ridwan Kolawole, the retired general said it was the first time in Nigeria that a letter bomb was brought to the country to kill. He said: “Segun Adeniyi, was at a time disturbing me that he would like to interview me on the issue when he was with the Concord. I eventually granted him and he started asking me about the Dele Giwa’s issue.
I told him, ‘Ogbeni, seyin naa le rori die sa’ (Can you also think small)? Kayode Soyinka gave inside story of what happened, he said they sat side-by-side and the envelope was brought, which he checked and he discovered that it was one of those padded envelopes, the type of which they used to send books. “He said he returned the envelope to Dele but before he (Dele) opened it, it had exploded. And, in his (Soyinka’s) words: ‘I was flung to the other side of the room and I was unconscious. He claimed that many times he tried to gain consciousness but he would not gain consciousness.
“Soyinka said that as he gained his consciousness, he was going to the sitting room when he met Dele Giwa’s wife going to the site of the explosion. “Something is wrong with that statement. How long was he unconscious and was trying to gain consciousness to the extent that he met Dele Giwa’s wife in the sitting room just trying to go to the site of the explosion. Something is wrong with that statement. That’s Kayode Soyinka’s account,” he said.
The Genaral emphasized that the burglary used to protect the air conditioner from the outside was twisted; the louvre blades were shattered; the typewriter that was there twisted but Kayode Soyinka had no scratch. He queried: “Is this possible? When my response was published in the Concord newspaper then, Kayode Soyinka’s response was that, he was surprised that I called myself a son of Reverend an I didn’t believe in miracles.
“That was his reaction. I believe in miracle but that was not a miracle. Then I asked, how did Dele Giwa’s wife who was not at the scene of the explosion sustain injuries but you (Kayode Soyinka) who were sitting beside him (Dele Giwa) did not sustain injury? His response was that: ‘when the poor woman was going to the room, the sliding door was locked but she used her hand to break the glass to open the door. Another question is, who locked the door?”
Togun also pointed out that the injuries on Dele’s chest was not bomb, adding that it was the fabric of the ‘nighty’ that melted to his chest. He said the two of them wore the same ‘nighty’ brought by Kayode Soyinka, stressing that when Soyinka returned the envelope to Dele Giwa, he moved towards the sliding door (to exit the room) and thereafter locked the door and that the thrush of the explosion entered through the door and moved to the room. According to him, “I can’t tell you about the story completely. I wrote a book, Dele Giwa: The unanswered questions. In this book, within five days of Dele Giwa’s death, I raised some observations. SSS was to investigate the death of Dele Giwa but when they started accusing me, they asked police to do it. We sent to the police some areas they needed to look into.
“The then AIG Omeme granted an interview to The News and they wanted him to mention somebody’s name. He talked about how Ray Ekpu and co were invited but refused to come. Instead they were going to meet Aikhomu, saying why did police want to see them? ‘they should go and arrest Akilu.