Dele Giwa was a Journalist, editor in Nigerian and originator of Newswatch magazine.
Sumonu Oladele “Baines” Giwa was born on 16 March 1947 to a family serving in the palace of Oba Adesoji Aderemi, the Ooni of Ife. He studied at Local Authority Modern School in Lagere, Ile-lfe. When his father relocated to Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife as a laundryman, he gained entrance to that school.
Dele Giwa travelled to the USA for his higher education, earning a BA in English from Brooklyn College in 1977 and enlisted for a Graduate program at Fordham University. He operated with the New York Times as a news assistant for four years after which he relocated to Nigeria to work with Daily Times.
Dele Giwa and fellow journalists Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese and Yakubu Mohammed founded Newswatch in 1984, and the first edition was circulated on 28 January 1985. A 1989 summary of the magazine said it “changed the format of print journalism in Nigeria [and] introduced bold, investigative formats to news reporting in Nigeria”. However, in the first few months of the government of General Ibrahim Babangida, who took power in August 1985, the magazine was shamelessly favourable. It wrote his face on the cover four times and even analyzed “anyone who attempted to make life unpleasant for Babangida”. Later, the paper took a more hostile view of the Babangida regime.
Giwa married an American nurse in 1974. His second marriage, to Florence Ita Giwa, lasted ten months. He later got married to Olufunmilayo Olaniyan on 10 July 1984, and they were married until his death in 1986. He was survived by his mother, wives and children.
Dele Giwa was killed by a mail bomb in his Lagos home on 19 October 1986. The murder happened two days after he had been interrogated by State Security Service (SSS) officials. In an off-the-record interview with airport reporters, Lt. Col. A.K. Togun, the Deputy Director of the SSS had claimed that on 9 October Dele Giwa and Alex Ibru had organised a media parley for media executives and the newly created SSS. Togun contended that it was at this meeting that the SSS and the media officials reached secret censorship compliance. Under this understanding, the media was to report any story with the potential to embarrass the government to the SSS before they tried to publish same.
On twenty October, the day after the bombing, the government convened a press conference presided over by Augustus Aikhomu. Before the press conference started, all press photographers, foreign journalists, and Nigerians that worked for international news media were ordered out. Those left behind were told that the briefing was “off the record” and Aikhomu would not be entertaining any questions.
Aikhomu then moved on to ask Ismaila Gwarzo, the Director of the SSS and Haliru Akilu to render their sayings about what had happened between Dele Giwa and their agencies in the recent past. Gwarzo confirmed that the SSS had invited Giwa for interrogation over allegations of gun running. Akilu on his part proved that he had called Giwa’s home on 18 October to ask for directions to the house so he could stop over to see Giwa while on his way to Kano through Ikeja airport.