Friday, 20 November 2020 13:30

Protest erupts in Abuja over killing of vendor by Gbajabiamila’s aide

Newspaper vendors protesting Newspaper vendors protesting

Massive protest has rocked the nation’s federal capital, Abuja following the killing of a newspaper vendor by a security aide to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The vendor, Ifeanyi Elechi, was said to have been shot dead on Thursday evening by a security aide to Gbajabiamila.

Scores of vendors took to the streets on Friday to protest the killing and demand for justice.

The protesters are members of the Abuja Newspapers Distributors Association (ANDA). The peaceful protest started after members of ANDA converged at the distribution center in Area 1.

They were armed with placards, some of which read: “#Vendors lives matter,” “#NASS must take action,” “Justice for Elechi,” “Elechi’s death must not be in vain,” among others.

The protesters said the overzealous security aide must be brought to book, saying that Elechi was shot in the head by the security operatives.

The President of ANDA, Benji Obute, had earlier stated that the peaceful protest was organized to draw the attention of the Speaker and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to the incident.

Gbajabiamila had reacted to the killing, describing it a horrible.

In series of tweets, the Speaker said “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.”

According to him, “I am personally distraught about this incident and my deepest sympathies go to the victim, his family and Abuja vendors.

“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.

“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.

“In the meantime; the officer who fired the fatal shot has been suspended from the convoy pending the conclusion of the investigation. I have caused a report to be made to the local police station and an investigation has commenced.”

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