Gbajabiamila’s aide shot newspaper vendor thrice, says family

The family of Ifeanyichukwu Okereke, a newspaper vendor shot dead on Thursday by a security aide to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has faulted the Speaker’s account of the incident.

The family, in their November 20, 2020 letter signed by their lawyer, Chidiebere Nwachukwu of Nwachukwu Nwachukwu & Co, and addressed to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, stated that the security aide shot Okereke three times and left him to bleed to death.

In the letter titled, ‘Re: Gruesome public murder of Ifeanyichukwu Okereke (deceased) by the security guard of Hon Femi Gbajabiamila (Speaker of the House of Representatives) on 19/11/2020’, the family demanded the arrest of the security operative within 48 hours.

The lawyer, who stated that he was acting on behalf of Destiny Chukwu-Okere, a younger brother of the deceased, and the entire Chukwu-Okereke family, added that Ifeanyichukwu who was shot dead on Thursday was to celebrate his new baby’s naming ceremony on Friday

It was learnt that the shooting incident happened when Ifeanyichukwu and other street vendors selling newspapers on the Shehu Shagari Way, Three Arms Zone, flocked around the convoy of the Speaker, who was said to be in the habit of giving out money anytime he passed them.

The Department of State Services had on Friday declared that the security guard was one of its operatives and had been detained by the Service for questioning.

Gbajabiamila has issued a statement expressing regrets over the tragedy and announcing the suspension of the officer involved.

He said he was not aware of the incident until much later, adding that he was gutted by the killing.

But the family of the deceased disputed Gbajabiamila’s account of the incident.

The letter read in part, “That the deceased who is a fan and supporter of the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representative (Hon Speaker) on the fateful November 19, 2020, upon sighting the motorcade of the Hon Speaker together with other newspaper vendors around the said traffic light waved cheerfully in their usual manner in solidarity to the motorcade as the said motorcade was passing.

“That the Hon Speaker upon sighting their enthusiasm and support, stopped his vehicle and gifted monies totalling about N9,000.00 to the said supporters led by the deceased.

“That the deceased was about to continue his business when one of the security guards attached to the Hon Speaker opened fire on him and shot him publicly, thrice, two shots in the head and one on his arm at close range and left him to bleed to death on the road.

“That the said motorcade drove off from the scene immediately after the incident without any remorse or offer for medical help to the victim.

“That the representative of all our client was at the scene when the incident took place and that on seeing his elder brother struggle for his life, he rushed to help him and cried for more help. It took about 30 minutes before the DPO of the Police Station at the Federal Secretariat brought his official car to convey the victim to the National Hospital, where he died as a result of the gunshot injuries.

“That our client and others were instructed to come back to the police station today being 20/11/20 after preliminary questioning.

“That this morning they were referred to the FCT Command where they have made statements and were asked to leave as they will be contacted.

“That till this moment, the security guard has yet to be arrested or prosecuted for a gruesome public murder of Ifeanyichukwu Okereke.

“That the said Hon Speaker had gone ahead to release a statement claiming that his ‘convoy was obstructed’ before the incident. This is unfortunate and we shall never allow such brazen murder to be swept under the carpet.”

It added that “the wife of the deceased is still expecting her husband home till this moment as the naming ceremony of their less than a one-month-old baby is set to be celebrated today being 20/11/2020.”

Demanding the arrest of the security guard, the letter stated, “We seek your immediate, urgent and decisive intervention in this case as we bring justice not only for the Ifeanyichukwu Okereke; husband, father, brother and son but also for the state (Nigeria).

“We, therefore, demand that if within the next 48 working hours, the culprit security guard attached to the Speaker of the House Representatives is not brought to book; we shall explore all possible legal remedies available to our client in order to bring justice to the deceased and his family

Meanwhile, Gbajabiamila on Saturday visited Okereke’s family.

Gbajabiamila was at Okereke’s family home in Kwata village in the Madalla/Suleja area of Niger State, in company with the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, and his aides

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