The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says he has suspended the over-zealous police officer who killed a newspaper vendor in Abuja on Thursday.
In a statement he personally signed and issued in the early hours of Friday, he described the incident as horrible, explaining that he did not know that someone was killed in the attempt to protect him until he arrived his destination.
The incident happened at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja in the afternoon.
The victim, identified as Ifeanyi Okereke, later died at the National Hospital, Abuja.
It was gathered that Okereke and other street vendors selling on the Shehu Shagari Way, Three Arms Zone, gathered the convoy of the Speaker as he was passing. He normally gives them money.
The Speaker’s statement read, “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.”