SPEAKER GBAJABIAMILA CONFIRMS DEATH OF VENDOR SHOT BY HIS SECURITY AIDE IN ABUJA, SUSPENDS OFFICER
The Speaker of the House of Representative, Femi Gbajabiamila has confirmed the death of a newspaper vendor shot by one of his security aides on Thursday, November 19.
Gbajabiamila explained what happened in a series of tweets on his official Twitter handle in the early hours of Friday, November 20.
According to the speaker, the vendor was hit by a stray bullet meant to disperse a crowd when he went to greet newspaper vendors while leaving the National Assembly.
“A horrible incident has taken place. This evening as I left the national assembly, I stopped, as usual, to exchange pleasantries with the newspaper vendors at the corner.
“Many of them have known me since I first moved to Abuja and it was a friendly exchange. Unfortunately, after the convoy set out in continuation of movement, unidentified men obstructed the convoy which got the attention of security men in the convoy who shot into the air to disperse them.”
"Some hours later, after getting to our destination, it was brought to my attention that someone was hit by a stray bullet, contrary to an earlier report by men in the convoy that they applied their security discretion to shoot in the air."
“In the meantime; the officer who fired the fatal shot has been suspended from the convoy pending the conclusion of the investigation.”
While sending his condolences to the family of the deceased, the Speaker expressed distraught about the incident.
“For one of them (vendors) to have been shot by my security detail is horrific and I cannot begin to imagine the grief and loss Ifeanyi’s family must feel on this sad day. No family should have to go through this.
“I have caused a report to be made to the local police station and an investigation has commenced. My value for human life and my respect for all people – irrespective of social-economic status – is what endeared me to these vendors and these are the reasons why I stop my convoy quite often to connect with them," he added.
The incident was said to have occurred at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, around 3 pm on Thursday.
The victim identified as Ifeanyi Okereke died shortly after he was rushed to the National Hospital by his brother and some police officers.
Reports say the shooting incident happened when Okereke and other street vendors flocked around the convoy of the Speaker, who called them to give them money.
The Chairman of the Newspapers Vendors Association in FCT, Etim Eteng,who had earlier confirmed the incident to The Punch, said Okereke, whose wife gave birth to a baby on Thursday morning died at the National Hospital shortly after he was shot.
Eteng said, “The speaker called to give vendors money and the security aide just shot him (Okereke) in the head. He was rushed to the National Hospital where he died some hours later.”
One of the vendors, Abdullahi Seidu had said the yet-to-be-identified security aide could not explain why he shot Okereke when Gbajabiamila confronted him.
“The vendors and other hawkers usually run after VIPs and lawmakers whenever they see them. In fact, they can identify the big men by their vehicles. So, the vendors flocked around the speaker’s convoy and he gave them some money but a gunshot just went off.
“The bullet hit Ifeanyi in the head and he fell down. The officer who fired the gun said he wanted to fire in the air,” Seidu said.
The incident happened amid fight against extrajudicial killings and excessive use of force by security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police.