MIXED REACTIONS TRAIL N500 MILLION DEMAND BY FAMILY OF SLAIN NEWSPAPER VENDOR FROM SPEAKER GBAJABIAMILA
Nigerians have reacted to the N500 million demand by the family of Ifeanyi Okereke, a newspaper vendor who was shot dead by a security aide of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Recall that Eons Intelligence reported that the family of the deceased, through their lawyer, Mike Ozekhome demanded a sum of N500 million in compensation for the loss of their loved one.
In a letter addressed to Gbajabiamila by Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the family gave the speaker seven days to meet their demand or face legal action.
The demand of Okereke's family has sparked mixed reactions amongst Nigerians as some faulted the development while others commended it.
Recall the Speaker paid the widow and her children a condolence visit and also pledged to support her children’s education until they become adults.
Gbajabiamila identified the erring officer as Abdullahi Hassan, an operative of the Department of Security Service (DSS) and handed him over for disciplinary action. He also vowed not to let the matter be swept under the carpet and promised to cater for the family of the deceased.
However, the family of the deceased have decided to take legal actions if the speaker does not accede to their demand. While some Nigerians support the action taken by the deceased’s family arguing that its high time people in power took responsibilities for crimes committed under their watch, others attribute it to a means to extort the speaker.
"Human life can not be quantified. They should give the family something concrete apart from promise of taking care of them. Let them waste it or fight over it. It’s no longer the concern of the speaker," a Nigerian on Facebook said.
A Twitter user, @mayorspeaks, who shared his view on the development, criticized the demand of Okereke's family, he wrote: "Some Lawyers are just half baked. The family of the shot Abuja vendor may end up losing everything if they continue to toe the path of seeking for a N500 million compensation. So far, Speaker Gbajabiamila has acted commendable.
"We believe the speaker has reached out to the widow by visiting them and promised to take care of the widow and her kids, covering their education expenses, his aid is facing the appropriate disciplinary institution.
"He also promised to foot the burial bills of the deceased.I find it so lame for the father and brother of the deceased to approach a lawyer demanding 500 million from the speaker, Gbajabiamila for killing their son, they are actually not concerned about the killer of their son facing prosecution but more interested in the compensation.
"The question is Did Femi Gbajabiamila kill their son? Some lawyers do not do proper consultation before filing a case, Gbajabiamila can end up saying ok lets go to court, and everything they thought they will get will be lost at court.
Well what do I Know"
Corroborating this, another Twitter user @ImmanuelonRadio tweeted: "The story that the family of the vendor who was shot by a security aide to Speaker @femigbaja are asking for N500 million thru their lawyer @OzekhomeMike, brought to my mind the Yoruba saying; àsejù ni baba àseté.
"Gbaja has been open, showed leadership by taking responsibility,even taking responsibility for the education of the late vendor's children, and ensured that the person responsible is being investigated for possible sanctions by the DSS.
"It is people like Ozekhome that make me question how lawyers become SANs in Nigeria! Saddens me too that the family of the victim have allowed themselves to be led by the neck to the altar of embarrassment. N500 million and other claims? For the life of a son and father? I wonder how much is the cut going to the lawyer? I hope they don't eventually end up with nothing sha…"
However, a Nigerian who commended the move by the deceased family, said the case should not be charged against Gbajabiamila but his office as speaker of the House of Representatives.
"Very insensitive comment. Criminal prosecution is different from civil demand for remedy. It is not about the amount. Parties always come to terms of settlement but to expect the family to rely on politicians promise without concrete terms is not in the interest of the family.
"Gbajabiamila can die tomorrow or get impeached. The story will change but a settlement term will be binding on the office and not the person of Gbajabiamila. The mistake we make is to personalize the office.
"The issue is against the office of the speaker and not the speaker. The killer worked for the office and not gbajabiamila. Compensation terms be mentioned by his office and they should reach settlement.
"I give thumbs up for the family. This should help to bring other office holders into conscious responsiveness and responsibility for the conduct of their aides.
"How many journalists have been brutalized by these aides? How many journalists have been duly compensated even when they were promised one?
The family have acted right and well."