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General News of Saturday, 21 November 2020

Source: Punch

DSS, police probe Abuja newspaper vendor’s killing by Gbajabiamila’s security aide

Newspaper vendors in the FCT, on Friday, protested Elechi’s killing Newspaper vendors in the FCT, on Friday, protested Elechi’s killing

The Department of Security Services has ordered an investigation into the killing of a newspaper vendor in Abuja, Ifeanyi Elechi, who was shot dead on Thursday, by a security detail attached to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Gbajabiamila, in a statement on Friday, identified the security operative responsible for Elechi’s death as Abdullahi Hassan, a DSS agent.

The DSS confirmed Hassan’s identity, saying he had been withdrawn from his assignment and detained.

The Public Relations Officer, DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, in a statement on Friday, said, “The attention of the Department of State Services has been drawn to the allegation of shooting and killing of one Ifeanyi Okereke by a security aide of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“The service hereby confirms that the suspect is one of its personnel deployed to the Speaker’s convoy as a security detail. And as already stated by the Speaker that he has been suspended from his convoy, the Service has further withdrawn him from the assignment.

“As part of its disciplinary procedures in the instance, he has been taken into detention. In addition, the Service has opened a detailed investigation into the matter. While it pledges to be transparent and accountable in handling this, it is liaising with appropriate authorities to achieve this objective.”

The service condoled with the family and loved ones of the deceased, and promised a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to the incident.

The Commissioner of Police, Federal Capital Territory Command, Bala Ciroma, also ordered an investigation into the killing.

The spokesperson for the FCT command, ASP Mariam Yusuf, in a statement titled ‘Shooting of newspapers vendor not by the police,’ however, refuted allegations that the security aide was a police officer.

Yusuf said, “The Commissioner of Police FCT, Bala Ciroma, has ordered a discreet investigation into the incident.

“While commiserating with the family and friends of the deceased, the Commissioner of Police wishes to guarantee members of the public that the command will be lucid in its investigation and ensure the findings are made public.”

Meanwhile, newspaper vendors in the FCT, on Friday, protested Elechi’s killing.

While carrying placards, they demanded justice and insisted that the culprit must be brought to book.

The Chairman of the Newspapers Vendors Association in FCT, Etim Eteng, said the association would not allow the matter to be “swept under the carpet.”

According to him, the vendor’s death was not as a result of accidental gunfire or stray bullets, noting that he was shot by the unidentified security officer, and that there were witnesses at the scene. Eteng stated, “We are gathered here today to demand justice for Elechi 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, is demanding justice.”

In a statement, Gbajabiamila vowed that justice for the deceased would prevail, adding that he had contacted the family members of the deceased and would meet with them.

It read, “The unfortunate death of Mr Ifeanyi Okereke at the hands of one of my security aides has left me deeply shaken. Mr Okereke was a citizen going about his business, trying to make a living for himself and his family. There is no reason for his life to have ended the way it did.

“This (Friday) morning, I handed over the security operative, Abdullahi Hassan, to the DSS for investigation and appropriate administrative and judicial action. In the interim, he has been suspended from the convoy.

“I expect, and I will see to it that the family of Mr Ifeanyi Okereke receives the full measure of justice so that their bereavement is not compounded by any actions that can cause them further pain and suffering.

“I have expressed my personal condolence to his family and have arranged to meet with them when the parents of Mr Okereke, who are already on their way, arrive in Abuja. Additionally, I have committed to them that I will support his wife and the immediate family he has left behind.”

The PUNCH had reported how a security aide to the Speaker shot the vendor in the head.

The incident, which occurred around 3pm on Thursday at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, had caused panic in the area. The victim was subsequently rushed to the National Hospital by his brother and some police officers, where he reportedly died.

It was learnt that the shooting happened when Okereke and other street vendors selling on 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.

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