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Honorable Gbajabiamila’s security aide shoots newspapers vendor dead in Abuja

Valentine Chinyem

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A newspaper vendor, Ifeanyi Okereke, has been shot dead by a security aide to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The incident, took place at 3pm on Thursday, at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja.

The victim as well as other vendors, selling on the Shehu Shagari Way, Three Arms Zone, in Abuja, flocked around the convoy of the speaker, who is said to always give out money to them any time he passes that way, when the security detail opened fire.

Ifeanyi, was hit in the head and subsequently rushed to the National Hospital by his brother and some police officers, where he was pronounced dead.

The Chairman of the Newspapers Vendors Association in FCT, Etim Eteng, while confirming the incident, said Ifeanyi’s wife just gave birth to a baby on Thursday morning.

He 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.”

Another vendor, revealed that thr trigger-happy officer could not explain why he shot the deceased when his principal, 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,” he said.

However, spokesman for 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.

Meanwhile, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, has also confirmed the incident in a series of tweet on Thursday.

Late Ifeanyi

He said, “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.

Gbajabiamila however noted that few hours after they got to their destination, he was briefed that a security detail attached to his convoy had killed a vendor.

This, according to him, was “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.”

He condoled with the family of the deceased, adding that he is pained imagining what the family is going through.

“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 said.