Gbajabiamila seeks redemption after newspaper vendor’s killing

As his initial claim that a newspaper vendor killed near the National Assembly, Abuja, was hit by a stray bullet continues to fall apart, Femi Gbajabiamila has embarked on a trip to redeem his tattered image.

Although the Speaker of the House of Representatives admitted that someone on his security team fired the shot that killed Ifeanyi Okereke, 38, last Thursday, Gbajabiamila had said the shot was fired to warn and not to kill.

But the Speaker’s narrative began falling apart over the weekend as Nigerians questioned how bullets that were fired into the air could hit a newspaper vendor who was standing nearby in the head.

Here is what Gbajabiamila and the authorities have done since Okereke was killed…

1. Gbajabiamila revealed the identity of the Department of State Services (DSS) operative that allegedly killed Okereke. His name is Abdullahi Hassan. The DSS says it has detained him while an investigation into the deadly fatal shooting continues.

2. Gbajabiamila visited Okereke’s family in Kwata village, Madalla-Suleja, Niger State. Okere’s wife is nursing a nine-day-old baby. The late newspaper vendor was awaiting resumption in the Ministry of Labour Employment and Productivity before he was killed, one of his colleagues told Gbajabiamila on Sunday.

In pictures: Gbajabiamila visits Okereke’s bereaved family

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3. Okere had two children. “I have immediately instructed the lawyers in the office to immediately set up a trust for the education and welfare for the children until they turn 21,” Gbajabiamila said during a meeting with newspapers distributors and vendors in Abuja on Sunday.

4. The Speaker also said that Okereke would be honoured in plenary on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the newspaper vendors who met with Gbajabiamila on Sunday said they protested to seek justice for Okereke and not to tarnish the image of the Speaker whom they describe as “friend”.

Okereke was hoping for cash; he got a bullet to the head.

Okereke was shot at about 3 p.m. on Thursday around the federal secretariat, which is the closest establishment to the Three Arms Zone. The area is a known spot for newspaper vendors, many of whom receive various gifts from lawmakers and other dignitaries who stop by the traffic light. Reports say Gbajabiamila occasionally doled out cash while passing through the area.

Reports say Ifeanyi Okereke was approaching Gbajabiamila’s convoy which had stopped to dole out cash last Thursday when the DSS operative shot him in the head.

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