Gbajabiamila confirms death of newspaper vendor shot by his security aide
FEMI Gbajabiamila, Speakers of the House of Representatives, has confirmed the death of Ifeanyi Elechi, a newspaper vendor shot by one of the security aides attached to his convoy on Thursday.
The speaker made this known in a Twitter statement in the early hours of Friday.
He said the vendor was hit by a stray bullet meant to disperse some unidentified men who obstructed his convoy while he was departing 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,” he said.
“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.”
The lawmaker said that contrary to the report by the security men on his convoy that they applied their discretion to shoot into the air, he was informed some hours after they got to their destination that someone had been hit by a stray bullet.
“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.”
He stated that he had reported the case at a local police station and asked that the officer that fired the shot be suspended from the convoy pending the conclusion of investigation.
While sending his condolences to the family of the deceased, the Speaker expressed distraught about the incident.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Etim Eteng, the Chairman of the Newspapers Vendors Association in FCT, told Punch that the man was shot in the head while the Speaker wanted to give them money.
“What I learnt was that the Speaker called to give them (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,” he said.
Also, Abdullahi Seidu, one of the vendors and an witness to the incident, 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 (Okereke) in the head and he fell down. The officer who fired the gun said he wanted to fire in the air.”
“I am personally distraught about this incident and my deepest sympathies go to the victim, his family and Abuja vendors,” the Speaker said.