Molly KILETE, Abuja
Newspapers vendors in Abuja, embarked on a peaceful protest Friday over the killing of one of their members, Ifeanyi Elechi, who was shot dead by a security aide attached to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Elechi, was said to have met his untimely death when he along his colleagues gathered around the convoy of the speaker who they said used to dash them money anytime he passes by them at the Shehu Shagari Way, in the Three Arms Zone.
He was shot on the head at close range and rushed to the national hospital, Abuja where he died.
The vendors who carried placards bearing various inscriptions demanded for justice. They said the overzealous security said to be a personnel with Department of State Services(DSS),must be made to face the law.
The Chairman of the Newspapers Vendors Association in FCT, Etim Eteng, who spoke to journalists during the protest, said the association would not allow the matter to be swept under the carpet as the vendor’s death was not as a result of accidental discharge or stray bullets. He said Elechi, was shot at close range by the unidentified security officer in the full glare of motorists and passersby.
According to ho, “We are gathered here today to demand justice for Elechi who was killed extra-judicially. Extrajudicial killing means the killing of an individual by a security operative without judicial proceedings and this is what has happened. The vendors association through their legal adviser are demanding justice.
Eteng said “The overzealous security operative who killed Elechi must be brought to book; he must face the wrath of the law. We know that over time, judicial killings have been swept under the carpet but this time, the death of this innocent man who left his wife and new-born baby to look for his daily bread and was killed by an aide to the Speaker of the House of Reps must be probed and the killer brought to book.
Worried by the gruesome act, the speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has issued a statement expressing regrets over the dastardly act and announced the immediate suspension of the suspects officer.
Gbajabiamila, who said he was not aware of the incident until much later, said he was sad by the killing.
Meanwhile, the FCT police command said it has commenced investigation into the shooting. The Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, who made this known, also debunked rumors making the rounds that the killer was a police officer.
Chiroma in a statement signed by the command public relations officer, Mariam Yusuf reads:, “The FCT Police Command wishes to unequivocally refute the allegation making the round sections of the media that a police officer attached to the convoy of the Speaker of the House of Representatives shot at a newspaper vendor within the Three Arms Zone on Thursday 19th November 2020.
“Contrary to the misleading information, a preliminary investigation into the unfortunate incident reveals that the security aide who shot at the vendor is not a member of the Nigeria Police Force.
“However, the Commissioner of Police FCT, Bala Ciroma has ordered a discreet investigation into the incident. While commiserating with the family and friends of the deceased, the Commissioner of Police wishes to guarantee members of the public that the command will be lucid in its investigation and ensure the findings are made public.”