A police officer attached to the convoy of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Thursday shot a newspaper vendor in the head.
The incident occurred at a junction leading to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) and Federal Secretariat in Abuja.
An eyewitness, who does not want his name in print, told LEAKBLAST that the newspaper vendor, identified as Ifeanyichukwu Elechi, was hailing the Speaker while on his way before the police officer pulled the trigger and shot the newspaper in the head.
The eyewitness said Elechi was rushed to the Federal Secretariat clinic for first aid treatment but the doctor on duty said, he has to be transferred to the National Hospital.
“Elechi was just hailing the speaker on the expressway leading to the OSGF, to everybody’s surprise the officer pulled the trigger and shot him,” he said.
When LEAKBLAST visited, traces of bloodstains were seen on the floor at the Federal Secretariat clinic.
The Speaker, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, said that he is “personally distraught” over the killing of the newspaper vendor.
Gbajabiamilia, who expressed his regret over the incident in a statement issued early on Friday, said that his “deepest sympathies” are with the family of the victim over the sad incident.
The speaker explained that the incident occurred when he stopped his convoy to exchange pleasantries with the vendors as was his usual practice after work.
According to the lawmaker, many of them have known him since he 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.
“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.
“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 all Abuja vendors,” he said.
He said that the matter has been reported to the local police station and an investigation has commenced.
Gbajabiamila, however, said that the officer who fired the fatal shot had been suspended from the convoy pending the conclusion of the investigation.
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