Josephine Okereke, the wife of Ifeanyi Okereke Elechi, a newspaper vendor killed by a security aide attached to Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has opposed her husband’s family demand for N500m compensation.
KanyiDaily had earlier reported how the newspapers vendor was shot in the head by Gbajabiamila’s security aide on Thursday, just a few hours after his wife gave birth to a baby that same day.
Reacting on Friday morning. Gbajabiamila explained that Okereke was hit by a stray bullet meant to disperse a crowd when he went to greet newspaper vendors while leaving the National Assembly.
Gbajabiamila suspended the operative who fired the shot, Abdullahi Hassan, and handed him over to the Department of State Services (DSS) last week.
The Speaker who vowed not to let the matter be swept under the carpet, visited the immediate family of the deceased and pledged to support his children’s education until they become adults.
However, in a letter addressed to the speaker dated November 23, 2020, the deceased family demanded N500 million compensation from him. The letter was signed by the lawyer of the family, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
Okereke’s family, who said the demand is not enough to replace their son, threatened to take legal action against Gbajabiamila if all their demands were not met within seven days.
Reacting to the demand while speaking with journalists on Thursday, Okereke’s wife said that what she wants is justice for her late husband, and not the compensation being sought by his family.
Josephine Okereke said she was not aware of the pre-litigation process. She urged Gbajabiamila to ignore the family demand and fulfill his promises to her and two children.
“I was in my house when within 10 minutes my father in-law came from Abia, he went out along with his other son and the next day I heard that my husband’s people are demanding N500 million as compensation,” she said.
“I was shocked and asked how will they be doing that and how will the speaker help the children again with such demand. All I want now is that the person that killed my husband to face justice.”
She added that the man had secured a job with the federal ministry of labour and employment some months ago but was unable to start because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID-19 prevented him from resuming, it was the minister, Dr Chris Ngige, that helped him secured the job, but since COVID-19 prevented him from resuming he went back to vendor so as to make a living,” she said.
KanyiDaily had also reported how Abuja newspaper vendors protested against the killing of their colleague, and demanded immediate prosecution of the security aide who shot Ifeanyi Okereke Elechi.