Claims that Bagauda Kalto died in self- planted bomb callous, says widow


The widow of late journalist, Bagauda Kaltho, Mrs. Martha Kaltho, has described as callous and false the claim that her husband died in a bomb explosion he planted at Durbar Hotel, Kaduna, during the military regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha.
Kalto, a journalist with The News/Tempo magazine, was believed to have been murdered through a bomb linked to the military junta.
An activist, Mahdi Shehu, had claimed in an interview with Arise Television, that in 1995 a political officer in the US Embassy in Nigeria, Russell Hanks offered him N1m to plant a bomb at Durbar Hotel, Kaduna, to discredit the Abacha regime.
Shehu claimed that he rejected the offer, insinuating that Hanks might have handed the parcel bomb to Kaltho which exploded at the hotel in 1995.
He said as he was leaving after his meeting with Hank at Hamdala Hotel, Kaduna, Kaltho knocked on the door of the hotel room.
“We went to the door together, and he wanted to see me off. At the door was Bagauda Kaltho, the journalist that was said to have been killed by Abacha.
” Bagauda was right at the door there. I think he gave him an hour before me. But I keyed into Bagauda’s hour. Bagauda went into the room, and I left.
“What happened? Not long after that, two hours later, bomb! Where? Durbar Hotel. Where? At the bookshop. When that happened, Lawal Jafaru Isa can confirm this,” Shehu said.
However, reacting to Shehu’s claim in a phone interview with Sunday PUNCH, widow of the deceased journalist wondered why it took Shehu 27 years to come up with what appeared a secret only to him.
“I was shown a video of the interview and I was surprised. The surprise was because there is no iota of truth in that claim.
“I don’t know what he stands to gain in painting my late husband in such a picture. It’s not true. That claim is totally false. I knew my husband so well. Baguada cannot kill an insect, let alone plant a bomb to kill people. It’s a callous claim.
“My husband was a peaceful man who loved journalism passionately. His posthumous birthday is tomorrow (September 19).’’
“She urged the current administration to order investigation into her husband’s murder by inviting Shehu to say what he knew about Bagauda’s disappearance.
“I think he has a better explanation about what happened to my husband. There was the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission of Nigeria otherwise called the Oputa Panel.
“Why didn’t he attend it to state what he knew about rights violations? Why is it now that he is coming up with this untruth?.’’
Martha also stated that she saw her husband last when he came home for Christmas in December 1995, adding that she went everywhere and contacted several people regarding his whereabouts when he was not seen after returning to his base in Kaduna.
Meanwhile, a media rights group, Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) has called for a fresh investigation into Bagauda’s death.
The Executive Director of the group, Adewale Adeoye, said in a statement on Friday that Shehu’s position had added a new twist to what remained an unresolved murder.
The group called on the National Assembly to set up a panel to investigate the murder afresh.
“Shehu’s fresh attempt to link the death of Bagauda Kaltho to an official of the  United States Embassy has raised fresh concerns not only about the heinous crime committed against the late Kaltho but also against the Nigerian media. “This is one issue that should not be allowed to go away without investigation.
“JODER calls on the Nigerian Union of Journalists and all media institutions to rise up to the occasion and help unravel one of the most grievous crimes in the history of the Nigerian media”, the statement said.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here