The Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has described the killing of a newspaper vendor in Abuja by one of the security details as horrible, saying he is distraught by the incident.
Gbajabiamila, in a statement he personally signed and issued in the early hours of Friday said he did not know that someone was killed in the attempt to protect him until he arrived at his destination.
A security aide to the Speaker shot the vendor in the head at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, Thursday afternoon and caused panic in the area.
The victim, identified as Ifeanyi Okereke, was subsequently rushed to the National Hospital by his brother and some police officers, where he reportedly died.
It was learnt that the shooting 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 out money anytime he passed them.
The Speaker’s statement on his Twitter handle 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.
“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 said.
Gbajabiamila described the incident as unfortunate, and noted that a report has already been filed at the local police station where an investigation has commenced.
He said the officer responsible has also been suspended from his convoy pending the conclusion of investigations.
The Chairman of the Newspapers Vendors Association in Abuja, Etim Eteng, said on Thursday that Okereke was killed only hours after he welcomed a new baby with his wife.