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Abuja newspaper vendors protest, mourn slain colleague

Members of Abuja Newspaper Vendors Association, yesterday shut down the popular Area 1, Garki Newspaper Distribution Centre to protest and mourn one of its own, who was allegedly killed on Thursday by a security operative attached to the convoy of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Chairman of the Association, Etim Iwara, who addressed the vendors in tears, said the deceased member, Ifeanyichukwu Elechi, did not commit any offence, but was gunned down by an over-zealous security aide to the Speaker.

Iwara who vowed that the vendors would take every necessary action to get justice for their slain member, also noted that distribution of newspapers to the public would be suspended till further notice. An eyewitness and a vendor, Emmanuel Onyebuchi, said he was with the deceased when he was shot.

Onyebuchi said the convoy of the Speaker stopped at the traffic light junction at Federal Secretariat Area, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, beckoned on him, the killed colleague and others to come, the call which they swiftly responded to and got a cash gift of N9, 000 from the Speaker. He explained that they were already rejoicing and singing praises of the Speaker and going back to their selling point, when the operative alighted from one of the backup vehicles and directly shot the deceased on the head. Onyebuchi, who also revealed that the deceased who had scheduled the naming ceremony of his new born for yesterday, died shortly after he was rushed to the National Hospital.

Onyebuchi said: “The late Onyebuchi and I were greeting the Speaker Gbajabiamila, even though the traffic light had passed him, he parked and called us to come. Elechi and myself, we crossed to meet him and he gave us N9, 000. “The DSS officer came down from the jeep, pulled his gun and shot Elechi, while we were crossing the road to go back. “I turned back and followed the officer, shouting, you’ve killed my brother, the officer also shot again into the air. but the bullet missed me, because I quickly fell on the ground. Elechi’s wife has a new born whose naming ceremony was supposed to hold yesterday.”

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