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Members of Abuja Newspapers Distributors Association (ANDA) are set to protest the killing of their member by a security aide to the Speaker of House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
President of the Association, Benji Obute, made this known while speaking to reporters in Abuja on Thursday. He said the association will stage a protest at the National Assembly and the Police Headquarters today over the killing of Elechi Emmanuel.
Obute noted that all their members would converge at Area 1 today to start the protest, noting that no newspapers would be distributed until after the protest. He appealed to media houses to cooperate with them to ensure that no paper is distributed.
Speaking further, Obute noted that the wife of the slain newspaper vendor recently had a newborn baby and he was planning to have the naming ceremony for the baby on Saturday.
He, however, slammed the Speaker for not reaching out to the association to commiserate with them over the death of its member. Obute noted that the speaker handed over the sum of ₦9,000 to the victim before the incident who happened to be their leader in the area as the traffic light passed the convoy.
Meanwhile, Speaker Gbajabiamila has reacted to the incident confirming the death of a newspaper vendor but explained that it was not intentional, explaining that the victim was hit by a stray bullet meant to disperse a crowd when he went to greet newspaper vendors while leaving the National Assembly.
In a series of tweets via his Twitter page on Friday, Mr Gbajabiamila said, ‘shots were fired into the air when some unidentified men obstructed his convoy’. He said the victim was hit by a stray bullet.
‘A horrible incident has taken place. This evening as I left the national assembly, I stopped as usual to exchange pleasantries with the newspaper vendors at the corner. Many of them have known me since I first moved to Abuja and it was a friendly exchange.’
‘Unfortunately, after the convoy set out in continuation of 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.’
A horrible incident has taken place. This evening as I left the national assembly, I stopped as usual to exchange pleasantries with the newspaper vendors at the corner. Many of them have known me since I first moved to Abuja and it was a friendly exchange.
— Femi Gbajabiamila (@femigbaja) November 20, 2020
‘I have caused a report to be made to the local police station and an investigation has commenced.’
‘In the meantime; the officer who fired the fatal shot has been suspended from the convoy pending the conclusion of the investigation.’
‘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 Abuja vendors,’ the Speaker said.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK