Nigeria

₦500m compensation: Speaker Gbajabiamila and late Ifeanyi paying the price for a failed system

It is quite unfortunate that the very same war against recklessness of security agents that has been on for months now keeps manifesting itself in different forms. A recent evidence is the death of newspaper vendor, Ifeanyi Okereke at the hands of a security detail to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila.  

His death at the hands of the aide who was identified as Abdullahi Hassan, a Department of State Services (DSS) operative, was unavoidable. Despite conflicting accounts of the incident, the denominator was that the convoy of Honourable Gbajabiamila was met with newspaper vendors and there was shooting to disperse them. How shooting into the air became a shot to the head is probably an answer that won’t be got.

The family of the deceased got the remorsefulness of the Speaker, who also promised to support the wife and the family, Ifeanyi left behind. 

However, in a recent development, the family of the deceased vendor has asked Honourable Gbajabiamila to reward them with “a modest sum of ₦500 million,” which can never adequately replace their breadwinner.

As expected, reactions have trailed the demand the family for such a sum but it is indeed difficult to put blame at the feet of either party.

Being a newspaper vendor suggests that Ifeanyi and his family are not the richest of people. They most likely struggle to make ends meet financially. But the incident has occurred and is irreversible. That it came through a public personality provides them the opportunity to demand for a share of what many perceive as ‘national cake.’ The system has already failed them, there’s no stopping whatever that can taken from it while they have the chance, especially in the face of poverty and nationwide recession.

The speaker who finds himself on the receiving end is a victim of the system he is now part of. The brutality of security agents precedes his tenure but if he’s part of those who perhaps think the demands of the youth are too much, then he should have a rethink now. 

As the number four person in the country, this is a timely reminder that he has a responsibility and the reach to effect the kind of change the youth have been clamouring for.

Although no word has been heard from his camp on the half-a-billion demand, ultimately all are scapegoats of the system.

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