A security aide in the convoy of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has killed a newspaper vendor in Abuja.
The Speaker also confirmed the development in a statement he personally signed late on Thursday.
According to available information, the vendor, Ifeanyichukwu Elechi, was shot dead as they were being given money by Gbajabiamila, an action other vendors and passersby confirmed had become routine.
Owing to the development, the vendors have scheduled a mass action for Friday (today) between 6am and 10am.
A statement by the vendors said the mass action, which will be in the form of a peaceful protest by rallying on the street and not distributing newspapers until it is over, was to call the attention of the Speaker and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to the killing.
The vendors said: “By this arrangement, papers won’t be lifted from the distribution ground tomorrow until 10am, all vendors are to converge on Area 1 for the protest.
“Media Houses are enjoined to cooperate with us and ensure that no single paper is leaked out to the street as any paper that defaults will be sanctioned.
“We must join hands to get justice for the fallen vendor.”
Reacting to the development, Gbajabiamila 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.
“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.
“I am personally distraught about this incident and my deepest sympathies go to the victim, his family and Abuja vendors.”