The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Sunday met with members of the Abuja Newspapers Distributors Association (ANDA) and the Newspapers Vendors Association, Abuja (NVAA) to condole with them over the death of their colleague, Ifeanyi Okereke.
Speaker Gbajabiamila, who visited the Abuja newspapers distribution centre at Area 1 in Abuja, said Ifeanyi, who died from a bullet fired by one of the security aides attached to his convoy, would get justice.
“the arc of the moral universe is long but it always bends towards justice”
The Speaker, full of grief over the incident, said the House would upon its resumption of plenary on Tuesday honour the late Ifeanyi and invited the leaders of the two associations to be part of the event to be held 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’ve been a champion of the common man and therefore the irony of this is not lost on me and many of us…”This is a very difficult time for me. Like many have said, you guys have been my friends for years. I have no idea and I don’t know why you guys have always taken to me over the years including campaigning for me in the streets of abuja during the speakership election.
“That’s why each time I pass you guys , I stop to say hi. Some people said why did I stop in the middle of the road? But as we were moving, the lights changed to red which meant to stop. So we stopped and my friends, as usual, besieged the vehicle, shouting and were 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 realize, but I insisted and they parked.
They said 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 Security (DSS), and they are investigation the shooting and its circumstances. Gbajabiamila said 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.
“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.
From the Speaker’s desk