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Ifeanyi Elechi: Abuja vendors dismiss “accidental discharge, stray bullet” narratives, insist that Gbajabiamila’s security aide shot the deceased in the head

Newspapers vendors in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory on Friday took to the streets to protest the killing of their colleagues, Ifeanyi Elechi, who was killed on Thursday by a security aide to Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker, House of Representatives.

Elechi was shot on the head and died at the Abuja National Hospital.

The vendors who were carrying placards, demanded justice, insisting that the errant operative who is believed to be a Department of State Services operative must be brought to book.

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

The speaker claimed that he was not aware of the incident until much later, adding that he was gutted by the killing.

The deceased vendor was killed when he joined his colleagues selling on the Shehu Shagari Way, Three Arms Zone, flocked around the convoy of the speaker. A source revealed that Gbajabiamila was in the habit of handing out cash to the vendors each time he passed by.

According to Etim Eteng, Chairman of the Newspapers Vendors Association in FCT, the matter to be “swept under the carpet.”

He said that the vendor’s death was not the result of accidental gunfire or stray bullets, noting that he was shot point-blank by the unidentified security officer, stressing that there were witnesses at the scene.

Eteng told reporters: “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 are demanding justice.

“The overzealous security operative who killed Elechi must be brought to book; he must face the wrath of the law. We know that over time, judicial killings have been swept under the carpet but this time, the death of this innocent man who left his wife and new-born baby to look for his daily bread and was killed by an aide to the Speaker of the House of Reps must be probed and the killer brought to book.

“It was not an accidental discharge, he was shot in the head. It is not stray bullets, there are eyewitnesses. The spirit of Elechi would not rest until justice is done.”