The Chairman of the Newspaper Vendors Association in the FCT, Mr Etim Eteng, has disagreed with the explanation proffered by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila for Thursday’s shooting of a vendor, Ifeanyi Okereke.
Okereke was shot close to the Federal Secretariat, Abuja by a security operative in Gbajabiamila’s convoy believed to be an official of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The security operative has since been suspended, Gbajabiamila stated.
The Speaker, who said he was “personally distraught” by the incident, explained how it occurred in a statement released early Friday.
Gbajabiamila explained that the incident occurred when he stopped his convey to exchange pleasantries with the vendors as was his usual practice after work.
According to the fifth-term lawmaker, “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 our movement, unidentified men obstructed the convoy which got the attention of security men in the convoy who shot into the air to disperse them.
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“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.”
However, Eteng said that Okereke was not hit by a stray bullet as explained in the Speaker’s statement but was shot at “point-blank” range by the security operative.
He spoke Friday during a demonstration organised by the assoociation in Abuja to protest the killing and demand justice.
“We are gathered here today to demand justice for Elechi (Okereke) 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.
“The overzealous security operative who killed Elechi (Okereke) 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.
“It was not an accidental discharge, he was shot in the head. It is not stray bullets, there are eyewitnesses. The spirit of Elechi (Okereke) would not rest until justice is done,” The Punch quoted Eteng as saying.
Commissioner of Police in the FCT, Bala Ciroma has ordered an investigation into the incident.