Newspaper Vendor’s Widow Distances Herself From Family’s N500 million Demand From Gbajabiamila

Josephine Okereke, the widow of the late Ifeanyi Okereke, has distanced herself from his family’s demand of N500 million from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Okereke was shot and killed by a security aide when Gbajabiamila’s convoy passed through the Federal Secretariat, Abuja on Thursday, November 19, 2020.

In a November 23 letter signed by Okereke’s family’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the Speaker was asked to pay the N500 million compensation, or face legal consequences after seven days.

It will at least mitigate the obvious trauma and hardship the premature demise of their irreplaceable breadwinner has placed on them,” the letter read.

While Ozekhome noted that the letter was written on behalf of Okereke’s father and brother, Josephine said she was not informed about it when she spoke at a media briefing on Thursday, November 26.

She noted that Gbajabiamila has already promised to take care of the needs of the deceased’s family, especially the education of his children.

Josephine said she was shocked by the family’s demand and is not interested in anything that will jeopardise the promise already made to care for her two children.

The former newspaper vendor also said she’s more interested in getting justice for her husband, than in any monetary compensation.

All I want now is that the person that killed my husband to face justice, he was the bread winner of the family and he just secured a job with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment,” she said.

Gbajabiamila said in a statement on Friday, November 20 that a Department of State Service (DSS) agent, Abdullahi Hassan, was responsible for Okereke’s death and has been handed over to the secret police for investigation, and appropriate administrative and judicial action.

While speaking about the incident during plenary on Tuesday, November 24, the Speaker said he already made personal pledges to Okereke’s family regarding funeral costs, support for his widow, and the education of his children.

“I have initiated the process to formalise these commitments in a trust that gives the family the certainty that allows them to continue with their lives despite the unfortunate loss,” he said.

Narrating what led to the shooting in a statement last week, the Speaker said he had stopped to exchange usual friendly pleasantries with the vendors, but that some unidentified men obstructed his convoy when he was ready to leave.

He said the obstruction caused his security aides to shoot in the air to disperse the men.

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