Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Professor Iyayi: Murdered Or Died In An Accident? ASUU,Soyinka And Major Stakeholders Demand Autopsy As Mortuary Photos Are Released

Two Holes discovered on the
body of Proffessor Festus Iyayi’s
Body has given life to the
suspicions by his fellow
colleagues that he may have
been shot to death and not killed
in an accident as widely
Iyayi was travelling to Kano in the
company of three other ASUU
members for a meeting on the
ongoing strike by members of the
union when a police escort van in
the convoy of the Governor Idris
Wada of Kogi State rammed into the
bus the university teachers were
travelling. Iyayi died instantly, while
three his colleagues were seriously
One Week after the accident ASUU
dismissed the view that Iyayi’s
death was accidental and forcefully
contested the official claim that his
heart was pierced by a strange
object at the accident scene.
The association pointedly blamed
the death on the government and
“its agents”. In a statement issued
by the University of Benin chapter
of the union, ASUU said Iyayi did
not die in an accident, but was
“wilfully” murdered.
The union said it will demand
concrete answers from the
government for the alleged murder.
It demanded that an autopsy be
performed on Iyayi’s corpse and
warned government officials to stay
away from the burial.
Civil society groups in Edo State also
demanded an inquiry into Iyayi’s
Photographs below of Iyayi’s corpse
obtained show holes that look like
entry and exit bullet holes.
The Joint Action Front, JAF, a
coalition of labour organisations,has
also accused the government of
masterminding Iyayi’s murder. A
statement signed by its president,
Comrade Abiodun Aremu, said the
circumstances of Iyayi’s death are
They argued that there was nothing
at the accident scene that could
have drilled holes in Iyayi’s body.
When told the coroner’s inquest did
not support his claims, Akhaine
retorted: “The coroner’s report is
not the result of an autopsy. Until
an autopsy is done, you cannot say
anything to the contrary.”
But how closely do the holes on
Iyayi’s body resemble those made
by bullets, especially given that the
one on the chest looks big? A
retired army colonel told Reporters
that the holes have a high degree of
consistency with those made by
“There is a 70 per cent probability
that the man was murdered and 30
per cent that it was an accident,”
he said. If it was an accident, he
argued, the impact would have
caused a squeeze, not neatly drilled
holes. He explained that a close-
range shot from a pistol would
cause the bullet to enter an object,
as it allegedly did Iyayi, and exit
through the back.
“The big hole in the chest shows
that it was a pistol. This is because
the wound a pistol creates is bigger
at the entrance and smaller at the
exit. But if it was a Kalashnikov
(AK47), it would be smaller at the
entrance and bigger at the exit,” he
further explained. The retired
officer added that AK47 bullets
gather momentum as they hit
target, unlike pistol bullets, which
create bigger impact at the point of
“There is the possibility of shooting
in the confusion of the accident or
that the accident could have been
contrived to cover up shots,” the
retired colonel said. But did any of
the survivors hear a shot before or
after the crash? Not exactly, but
they are not ruling out the
possibility that a gun may have gone
off on account of the impact created
by the collision. This is because in
all likelihood, the vehicle
responsible for the accident had
heavily armed passengers.
“I heard the two vehicles collide.
But given that it was a police
vehicle, it is possible that, as we
usually notice, cops in the escort
vehicles of governors are always
armed. So, anything could have
happened on impact,” reasoned
Anthony Monye-Emima, Chairman,
University of Benin ASUU branch. If
that was what happened, could
Iyayi’s death be described as
anything but accidental? Obviously
not. Lawyer and former university
teacher, Professor Itse Sagay, urged
Sagay, who was sacked alongside
Iyayi from the University of Benin
by the military regime of General
Ibrahim Babangida in 1987, said:
“Nobody can pinpoint exactly what
was responsible for the injury (the
hole in the chest), which I believe
killed him.
There was no piece of iron or sharp-
edged object found that could have
done it. I believe the only solution
to the problem is to have a very
thorough autopsy to determine the
cause of death and from there, one
can then begin to build on what
possibly could be responsible for his
death.” Sagay added that since
there is no doubt that Iyayi’s death
was caused by somebody in
Governor Wada’s convoy, a case of
murder or at the minimum,
manslaughter, could be
established.Iyayi’s death.
Prof. Wole Soyinka insisted that
Iyayi must not be buried without a
coroner’s inquest.
He said: The world is watching. With
the mortuary photos of the late
Festus Iyayi just published, the
world is waiting and watching if the
corpse shown in that image will be
interred without a coroner’s
To allow this to happen is to make
all of us accessories to a possible
crime. It means we are now
attuned to the culture of impunity
and forfeited all claims to
elementary ctiizen security. Tributes
ring hollow if doubts are silenced.
“Beyond all doubt” is a protective
armour for each one of us, no
matter where and how. So let the
nation be placed in knowledge
Beyond All Doubt over the
circumstances of Festus Iyayi’s
That is the minimum any self-
respecting society must demand,
not merely as a collective shield,
but in the service of Truth, and for
all posterity. We remain haunted by
the far too frequent, unexplained
decimation in the ranks of the