The killing of Ifeanyi Okereke by one of the security details attached to the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has sparked outrage on social media as Nigerians condemned the act and called for justice over the incident.
Many Nigerians have said the killing of the newspapers vendor again validates the recent #EndSARS protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.
The media had reported how a security aide to the Speaker shot the vendor in the head.
The incident, which occurred at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, around 3pm on Thursday, had caused panic in the area.
The victim, Okereke, 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 the 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.
The Speaker, in a statement today, condemned the shooting, saying he was distraught by the incident. He also said the matter has been reported to the police, adding that the officer who fired the fatal shot has been suspended pending the conclusion of investigation.
“I am personally distraught about this incident and my deepest sympathies go to the victim, his family and Abuja vendors,” Gbajabiamila said.
However, Nigerians have taken to the social media to express their anger over the incident with many saying it was unfortunate the incident happened amid the call for an end to police brutality.
Lawyer and activist, Tope Akinyode, tweeted, “The killers of a street vendor in Abuja yesterday must be brought to book.”
Comedian and #EndSARS campaigner, Debo Macaroni, stated, “Ifeanyi’s wife just recently gave birth. Another Nigerian dead because we are in a country that has zero value for human life!”
Also, popular broadcaster, Kadaria Ahmed, wrote, “No justification for using lethal force to keep citizens away from those who elect them. I believe @femigbaja is appalled but that’s not enough. The shooter must be prosecuted.
“Ifeanyi and his family deserve justice and then how about legislation banning the use of live ammunition during regular work by the security services especially that which brings them into contact with civilians. This will be a worthy memorial to Ifeanyi.”
A Facebook user, Oyalade Olujide, compared the shooting to that of the Lekki toll gate of October 20, 2020. “At Lekki, they said they shot in the air, this one again they shot in the air?” Olujide queried.
Hadeyshuyi Steven commented, “In Peru, a government official resigned over the killing of two innocent citizens. I hope Gbajamiamila will show us true leadership by tendering his resignation letter.”
Instagram users were also pained by the tragic incident in Abuja yesterday. “What’s wrong with all these trigger-happy security personnel?! They don’t train them to have value for human life?! This is really sad,” sandy_nene wrote.
“This incident clearly validates the #EndSARS movement and calls into question whether the judicial enquiries can be truly independent,” patrickdonaldlee said.