The security aide of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who allegedly shot dead a newspaper vendor in Abuja on Thursday, has been suspended, pending the conclusion of investigations.
The Speaker confirmed media reports that one of his security aides was responsible for the shooting to death of Ifeanyi Okereke, a newspaper vendor.
Okereke was shot when Gbajabiamila’s convoy passed through the Federal Secretariat, Abuja on Thursday, November 19, 2020.
The shooting occurred after the deceased and other vendors crowded the convoy after they had been summoned by the Speaker himself.
Gbajabiamila said in a statement on Friday that he had stopped to exchange usual friendly pleasantries with the vendors, but that some unidentified men obstructed his convoy when he was ready to leave.
He said the obstruction caused his security aides to shoot in the air to disperse the men.
“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 had already been filed at the local police station where an investigation had commenced.
He said the officer responsible, Abdullahi Hassan, who is an official of the Department of State Services (DSS), had also been suspended from his convoy, pending the conclusion of investigations.
He said, “My value for human life and my respect for all people – irrespective of social economic status – endear me to these vendors, and these are the reasons 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 have expressed my personal condolence to his family and arranged to meet with them when the parents of Mr Okereke, who are already on their way, arrive in Abuja.
“Additionally, I have committed to them that I will support his wife and the immediate family he has left behind.
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.