Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, last night expressed his deepest sympathies to the family of a newspaper vendor, his family and the entire Abuja vendors for the killing of one of their members by his security aide.
A security aide attached to Gbajabiamila, yesterday shot dead the vendor, identified as Mr. Ifeanyi Okereke, in Abuja.
Force Public Relations Officer and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Frank Mba, confirmed the incident.
He said the FCT Police Command has launched an investigation into the shooting.
The security aide shot the vendor in the head causing his death.
The incident, which occurred at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, caused panic in the area.
The victim was subsequently rushed to the National Hospital by his brother and some police officers, where he was confirmed dead.
THISDAY gathered that the incident happened when Okereke and other street vendors selling on the Shehu Shagari Way, Three Arms Zone, flocked around the convoy of the speaker, who was said to be in the habit of giving them money any time he passed.
Speaking on the incident, the Chairman of the Newspapers Vendors Association in FCT, Mr. Etim Eteng, said Okereke died at the National Hospital shortly after he was rushed there.
He stated that his wife gave birth to a baby on yesterday morning.
“What I learnt was that the speaker called to give the vendors money and the security aide just shot him in the head. He was rushed to the National Hospital where he died some hours later”.
A vendor, Mr. Abdullahi Seidu, said the unidentified trigger-happy security aide could not explain why he shot the deceased when confronted by Gbajabiamila.
“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.”
Spokesman of the National Hospital, Dr. Tayo Haastrup, confirmed that Okereke died of gunshot injuries.
“He died of gunshot injuries and would be moved from the Trauma Centre to the mortuary shortly,” he said.
Confirming the incident, Force PRO, Mba, said details of the incident was sketchy but said:” it is true. There was an incident involving use of firearms around the speaker. The FCT Police Command is investigating the incident”.
In a statement he issued yesterday, Gbajabiamila described the incident as horrible.
“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.
“I have caused a report to be made to the local police station and an investigation has commenced.
“In the meantime; the officer who fired the fatal shot has been suspended from the convoy, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
“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. For one of them 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 am personally distraught about this incident and my
deepest sympathies go to the victim,
his family and Abuja vendors”.