Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has confirmed media reports that one of his security aides was responsible for the shooting to death of Ifeanyi Okereke, a newspaper vendor in Abuja.
Okereke was shot when Gbajabiamila's convoy passed through the Federal Secretariat, Abuja on Thursday, November 19, 2020.
The shooting happened after the deceased and other vendors crowded the convoy after they had been summoned by the Speaker himself.
Gbajabiamila said in a statement early on Friday, November 20 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 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.
He said, "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."
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.