The acting Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Suleiman Abba, yesterday ordered an immediate and thorough investigation into the death of the late journalist and Vice-Chairman of The Sun Newspapers, Mr. Dimgba Igwe.
Abba promised that the police would leave no stone un-turned in their investigation towards unravelling the circumstances surrounding his death.
Dimgba died at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, last Saturday following injuries he sustained from a hit-and-run vehicle while he was jogging near his home in Okota, Lagos.
In a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Emmanuel Ojukwu, Abba condoled with Igwe’s immediate family, The Sun Newspapers and the entire nation on the “death of the irrepressible, versatile and courageous journalist of note.”
While recalling the worthy contributions of the late Igwe to nation building, the IG expressed deep regrets over the death of the journalist.
He noted that Igwe’s death was regrettably coming at a time when his highly cerebral ideas and ingenuity were very much needed in the country.
The order by the IG also came at a time when many Nigerians and bodies have continued to mourn the writer and author.
For instance, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, has described the demise of Igwe as a huge loss to the pen profession and the nation at large.
Maku, who sent his condolence message through a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Joseph Mutah, said Igwe upheld the ethics and tenets of journalism.
He described him as a consummate journalist, a columnist, an author and a public commentator who acquainted himself satisfactorily.
He said the deceased would remain evergreen in the memory of Nigerians as a celebrated journalist and author who utilised his talents in promoting the truth and mobilising the entire nation to pursue a common cause of peace, unity and development.
Commiserating with the Igwe’s family and The Sun Newspapers yesterday, Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon from Lagos State, said the brand of journalism practiced by the journalist is such that will make him live long in the memory of many Nigerians and beyond the country.
The Senate Minority Whip in a statement by his campaign office, expressed shock over the death of Igwe, who he described as “an exemplary journalism icon who would not mince words in communicating facts and standing by the truth through his educative and informative weekly column all the years.”
Not left out of the condolence, was the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), which in a message, described as “great shock,” the passing away of celebrated Igwe.
The condolence, addressed to the publisher of Sun Newspapers, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, read in part: “The circumstance of his death is devastating, and confirms how cheap life has really become in our dear country. How do we explain that Dimgba was knocked down by a hit-and-run reckless driver as he jogged around his neighbourhood in the Okota area of Lagos?
“His cheap death has exposed our incompetence as a country, and the sorry state of our health sector. Where were the policemen around that stretch? There were no street cameras in spite of the millions of naira allegedly spent on the project. 48 hours after his numbing death, there is still no clue as to the make of car, and/or the plate number.”
According to the condolence statement, which copy was made available to THISDAY, “a versatile journalist with a career spanning over 30 years, most of which were in the critical period of the Nigeria media history, the late Dimgba Igwe was to define tabloid journalism in the country, alongside his professional ‘Siamese twins’, Mike Awoyinfa.
Both midwifed and nurtured the defunct Weekend Concord, and later, The Sun Newspapers to the colossus that it is today.”
On his part, Globacom Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr., has described the sudden demise of Igwe as a tragic and colossal loss not only to journalism but the entire nation.
In a condolence message to the management of Sun Newspapers, Adenuga said the nation had lost a gem with the death of Igwe.
“Igwe was a gentleman and an excellent professional who discharged his duties with rare candour. He was a prolific columnist and constructive critic who used his writings to dissect the challenges facing the society and was always positive in his postulations.
The Globacom Chairman said he received the news with deep shock and conveyed his commiserations and prayers to the Sun Newspapers and the family of Igwe on the monumental loss.
He prayed that God would grant Igwe’s family, colleagues and associates the strength to bear the irreparable loss.
Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condoled with the management and staff of The Sun over Igwe’s tragic death, saying with his sudden death, Nigerian journalism has lost a worthy role model.
In a statement signed by the National President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the body expressed shock and sadness over the death of the consummate journalist and condoled with the family and professional colleagues of the fallen prolific writer, praying God to give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable the loss.
Oritsejafor said words failed him to describe sense of loss he feels, urging the acting Inspector-General of Police to compel the Lagos State Police Commissioner to do everything possible to fish out the driver of the alleged hit-and-run car that killed Pastor Igwe at his prime, while jogging in his neighborhood.
“This is one case that must not be swept under the carpet, because Pastor Igwe through his writings has positively affected several lives across the country, adding that, “the Police must fish the killers of the gentleman and find out the motives or their dastardly act.”
The Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), a non-denominational group, yesterday also expressed shock over the unfortunate death of Igwe.
The group’s Director of Operations, Mr. Ben-Chuks Nwosu, who spoken with journalists in Awka said that the demise of the foremost journalist came at a time when his invaluable analytical write-ups would be so much needed most, especially the nation begins a journey of transition.
On its path, the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the late veteran journalist as a pacesetter, who played a leading role in charting the course of journalism in Nigeria.
It described his death as shocking and a big loss to the journalism profession, which is in dire need of competent professionals to steer it from a tempestuous present where truth and objectivity have become marketable commodities.
In a statement signed by the its Publicity Secretary, of the APC, Joe Igbokwe, the party said it was shocked by the way an errant driver killed the veteran journalist, while jogging near his house.
The party therefore extended its sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of the late journalist and urged that everything should be done to investigate the death of Igwe.