By IGHO OYOYO
Nigeria’s House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has personally expressed sadness over the incident leading to the death of a newspaper vendor, Mr Ifeanyichukwu Elechi, by one of his security details.
The Speaker, in a statement issued early on Friday morning said he is personally distraught over the killing of a newspaper vendor and that his deepest sympathies are with the family of the victim and all vendors in Abuja over the sad incident which occurred close to the Federal Secretariat on Thursday.
Gbajabiamila explained that the incident occurred when he stopped his convoy to exchange pleasantries with the vendors as he used to so after work, but that shortly when the convoy set to continue the journey, unidentified men obstructed the convoy which alerted the security men to shoot into the air to disperse them.
”A horrible incident has taken place. Yesterday 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.
“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,” he said.