The speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, has expressed his regret over the reported killing of a newspaper vendor, Mr. Ifeanyichukwu ELechi, by one of his security details.
In a statement released on Friday, Mr. Gbajabiamila said that his deepest sympathies are with the family of the victim and all vendors in Abuja over the sad incident which occurred somewhere near the federal secretariat on Thursday.
He narrated that when his convoy set out in continuation of his journey after he has stopped to interact with the vendors, unidentified persons obstructed the convoy which got the attention of security men who shot into the air to disperse them.
Some hours after he arrived at his destination, it was brought to his 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.
“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 reason 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 by this incident and my deepest sympathies go to the victim, his family and all Abuja vendors, he said.
He also said that the matter has been reported to the local police station and an investigation has commenced.
The Speaker said, however that the officer who fired the fatal shot had been suspended from the convoy pending the conclusion of the investigation.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN reports that the sad incident occurred at a time when the house of Representatives is championing police reforms following the #EndSARS protest.
Meanwhile, in response to the incident, the Abuja Newspapers Distribution Association, ANDA, has carried out its treat not to distribute newspapers until 10:00am, Friday to protest the killing of their member.
The action follows a statement by the President of ANDA, Benji Obute, who called on all members to converge at the distribution contre in Area1, for a peaceful protest to draw the attention of the Speaker and the Inspector Generral of Police, IGP to the incident.
Following the action of ANDA, RovingNaija reports that only the Daily Trust Newspapers was seen Friday morning in Abuja.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, FCT, Abuja Mr. Bala Ciroma has denied reports that the deceased newspaper vendor was shot by a member of the police in the convoy of the Speaker.
Mr. Ciroma gave the clarification when he called in to the Nigeria Television Authority’s flagship morning programme, Good Morning Nigeria Friday morning.
The programme was anchored by Kingsley Osadolor and Claire Adelabu, with Mr. Bayo Atoyebi as newspaper reviewer.
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