Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Sunday met with members of the Abuja Newspapers Distributors Association (ANDA) and the Newspapers Vendors Association in Abuja (NVAA) over the death of their member, Ifeanyi Okereke.
Gbajabiamila visited the newspapers vendors to condole with them over the death of Ifeanyi who died due to bullet shot by one of the security aides attached to the speakers convoy.
The speaker promise the association that they would get justice on the incident.
He said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it always bends towards justice.”
He further stated that the House would honour the deceased during plenary on Monday.
Gbajabiamila urged committee members of the two associations to attend the event, which will hold on the floor of the House.
“Let me address you not as the Speaker but as Femi Gbajabiamila, a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has been caught unawares in the middle of this unfortunate incident.”
“Many of you that have been following me from the beginning know that championing the cause of the masses has been my life work as a legislator. I have been a champion of the common man. Therefore, the irony of this is not lost on me and many of us. However, I will continue to do this as long as I live.”
“So, we stopped and my friends, as usual, besieged the vehicle, shouting and jubilant.”
“Immediately I heard the gunshot, I screamed and said why did they do that? At that time, I thought it was just a shot into the air.”
“As we moved on, I asked that they should park the car. It’s against security training, as they made me realise, but I insisted and they parked. They said everything was okay. Indeed, some other road users behind us did say everything was okay. We moved on.”
“It was later that night that I got the full gist of what had happened. I want to commiserate with you over what happened.”The Speaker said the security operative responsible for the shooting had been handed over to the Department of State Services (DSS) and that they were investigating the shooting and its circumstances.”
The Speaker also disclosed that he had visited the family of the late Ifeanyi at the Kwata area of Madalla-Suleja on Saturday, where he met with his wife and children.
“Those children have now become my children. I have made commitments to the family to train them until they become adults. I have instructed the lawyers in my office to immediately set up a trust fund for them until adulthood.”
“The incident has touched me in no small measure and in ways difficult for anyone to understand. I am a man of peace and not violence.”
As part of the mourning period, the Speaker said he had cancelled all his engagements “because I’m indeed mourning, and I can’t be mourning and be celebrating or attending joyous occasions or functions at the same time”.
He added: “We all talked about justice, and I assure you we will follow due process. Justice, in whatever form it is, will prevail. That’s what we can do for now.”
“There’s sitting on Tuesday, and I’m inviting the Executives of the two associations, and maybe some few members, to come over where we will be honouring Ifeanyi. We have a lot of things on Tuesday, but we will honour him.”
“I feel your pain. Your pain is my pain. My pain pales into insignificance when compared to what you or the family may be feeling at this time. May his soul rest in peace. May God grant him eternal rest. May the death of Ifeanyi be the beginning of good things for the vendors. I have heard your requests, and I assure you that those requests would be handled. Ifeanyi’s death won’t be in vain. May a lot of good come out of this unfortunate incident.”
“I thank you for your very kind and generous words regarding my person. I thank you for receiving us. It’s unfortunate that we’re meeting under this circumstance, but I assure you that this won’t be the last.”
House spokesman Benjamin Kalu said the lawmakers would work to make November 19 of every year a “Vendors’ Day.”
NVAA Chairman Etim Iwara and the President of Abuja Newspaper Distributors Association, Chief Benji Obute demanded justice and honour for the late Okereke.
Source: Naija News