On November 12, 2013, Prof. Festus Iyayi, a former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was killed along Abuja/Lokoja express way in Kogi State in an auto crash involving the convoy of the Kogi State Governor, Capt. Idris Wada.
A prima facie report stated that Prof. Iyayi was killed after a police van in the convoy of Governor Wada, veered off its lane and ran into the vehicle conveying Prof. Iyayi. The car was said to have rolled over three times.
However, recent photographs of Prof. Iyayi’s corpse, has re-awakened existing doubts as regards the actual cause of Iyayi’s death; and confirming the possibility of a murder as against earlier reports of just an accident.
Earlier reports by one Dr. Paul Amodu of the Specialist Hospital in Lokoja had revealed that Professor Iyayi died after “something” pierced his chest, but he didn’t specify what it was. This birthed the assumption that an iron rod could have been the unknown “something”. But occupants of the vehicle who survived had unanimously rebuffed the claim; adding that there was no possibility that an iron could have pierced through his heart as only glasses were shattered going by their inspection after the accident.
With recent photographs showing double incisions likely made by gunshot bullets; experts’ analysis, and testimonies by co-travellers; one is tempted to ask: who killed Prof. Festus Iyayi?
In a recent analysis by a retired military officer, the visible deep gashes in the chest of Prof. Iyayi could not have been an accident.
In his words: “the injuries look like the result of bullets from a pistol, not a rifle. There is a 70 per cent probability that the man was murdered and 30 per cent that it was an accident.
“If it was an accident, the impact would have caused a squeeze, not this kind of hole,” he argued.
He also debunked claims of the possibility that the incisions could have been made by broken glasses, adding that “But since it was a shot from a high velocity weapon, it would enter and get out from the opposite end.”
The retired military officer also suggested that because of the holes on the chest of the corpse, the weapon from which the bullet was fired could be a pistol.
“The big hole in the chest shows that it was a pistol. This is because a wound created by a pistol is bigger at the entrance and smaller at the exit. But if it was a Kalashikov (or AK47), it would be smaller at the entrance and bigger at the exit. An AK47 gathers momentum as it moves on, unlike pistol bullet which creates bigger impact on entrance.
“There is the possibility of shooting in the confusion of that accident or that the accident could have been contrived to cover up shots, “he said.
A colleague of late Prof. Iyayi, Dr. Anthony Monye-Emina, an Associate Professor of Economics and Chairman, UNIBEN chapter of ASUU, who was in the vehicle with the late Prof. Iyayi, stated that anything could have happened; adding that the alleged shot could be accidental too.
“During the impact I heard the sound when the two vehicles collided. And even with the fact that it was a police vehicle, it is possible that, naturally as we usually notice, those cops in the escort vehicle of Governors are always armed. So anything could have happened between the points of impact and so on.”
He also dismissed claims that the incisions could have been made accidentally by an iron from the seat; noting that only shattered glasses where visible and glasses cannot make such incisions.
“That is not correct, we didn’t notice any broken piece of iron from the seat, because the following day when we got to the scene, we started looking around, we didn’t notice any broken iron from the seat. But we noticed that the window glasses were shattered, but they couldn’t have caused that kind of injury,” Dr Emina said.
The controversies surrounding the demise of Prof. Iyayi cannot be swept beneath. Nigerians, home and abroad have called for a proper coroner analysis on the corpse before interment.
Before his unfortunate demise, Prof. Iyayi was quoted as saying “Nigeria is not worth dying for.” Alas, his breath was taken while fighting for Nigeria.
With the claims by other occupants of the vehicle of a possible murder; the analysis by a former military officer of how the incision possesses a 70 per cent chance of being made by a bullet; and the mind-blowing graphic images of the corpse, one is tempted to ask: who killed Festus Iyayi?
Prof. Iyayi, born in 1947 at Ugbegun, Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo State, was widely known as a radical writer, acknowledged for his tough stance on social and political issues. He employed realistic medium of writing, depicting the ills of the society.
Nice piece. I like the writer’s style of writing. Keep up the good work, News Chronicle