Claims by residents and groups that the victims of the shooting by security operatives at an uncompleted building behind Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja last Friday were artisans, traders, and keke NAPEP riders who lived at the building because they couldn’t afford high cost of rent in Abuja may be true after all as groups are beginning to surface to identify with their dead comrades.
Garki Modern Market Traders Association yesterday vowed to drag the security service to court claiming those who were killed were its members and were innocent.
the association has started briefing its lawyers with a view to dragging the Department of State Service, DSS,to court over the killing of its members at an uncompleted building, behind the Apo Legislative Quarters, in Abuja, last week.
The Secretary of the association, Murtala Abubakar, said that they had already reported the murder of their members to the Senate and the National Human Rights Commission for appropriate actions against the murderers.
Abubakar lamented: “Those people are eligible traders trading in our market so I don’t see why they should be killed.”
According to him, “We lost two of our members as now, while eight were seriously wounded by the soldiers who shot them at close range. Five others are missing as we speak.
“The security agents did not recover anything not even a gun. They were just saying that our members opened fire on them but they were just saying it to cover up because they don’t have any proof that these people are Boko Haram”
Abubakar added that the DSS was still holding two of the association’s members who were arrested on Friday morning as they went back to collect their property from the scene of massacre.
Also speaking, Abuja Keke Napep Chairman, Musa Ibrahim said, “We are here this morning to take the remaining two bodies from the mortuary although one of the bodies has been here in Asokoro Hospital mortuary since Friday.
“We took seven bodies and gave them to their relatives since the day of the attack. The body that was deposited in mortuary was as a result of our not being able to get in touch with the family.
“We have been able to establish contact with all the families of the slain men. Meanwhile, we just lost another victim who was rushed to the hospital that Friday. His name was Nasiru Adamu, and hailed from Zamfara State.
“The seven that were killed that day were all our Keke NAPEP members; we issued them with identity cards, which they were carrying at the time of their death.
“They had lived in that uncompleted building for over two years and were paying N200 weekly to the security guard of the building as a caretaker of the landlord.
“Even the owner of the building was aware that these people were living in the house. He had given them a quit notice and they were preparing to leave a day before the attack.
“After the attack, there were no security operatives around the building; it was our members who even informed the nearest police station to come around.
“If those who were left in the building were actually Boko Haram, they would have run away after the attack.
“As we know, those who lost their lives and the survivors were not Boko Haram members. We want the Federal Government to thoroughly investigate the matter and punish whoever is behind the dastardly act because it is not acceptable.
The death toll in the shooting has risen to 10 as one of the injured victims died yesterday at the hospital.
Nine persons had earlier been killed by bullets fired by security agents when they stormed an uncompleted storey building in the neighbourhood in search of ‘terrorists’ whom they claimed tried to stop them from uncovering buried arms in the compound.
The tenth victim of the onslaught gave up the ghost on Monday morning at the Asokoro General Hospital, which has been besieged by human right activists, relatives of victims and security agents since the dead and wounded were transferred to the medical facility.
Meanwhile, member representing Bakori/Danja Constituency, Katsina State at the House of Representatives, Hon. Amiru Nadabo has accused the DSS of feeding Nigerians with lies.
Hon. Nadabo who was sighted at the Hospital premises along with other mourners, accused the DSS of feeding Nigerians with lies, insisting that the National Assembly would do everything possible to unravel the circumstances surrounding the killings of the Apo 10.
Nadabo, who lost four of his constituents to the killings, vowed that apart from taking the matter to the floor of the National Assembly, they would also take necessary legal action to see redress over the manslaughter of his men.
“We have spoken to the Inspector General of Police and the FCT Commissioner of Police and both of them had confirmed that their men were not involved in the dastard act. We are trying to find out who arrested those people and where they were taken to.
“I have four of my constituents involved in this unfortunate circumstance and we can’t allow this to continue to happen. These are people that have their jobs and are Keke NAPEP operators.
“It was from their ID cards that we got to know that these people are members of the Keke NAPEP riders association and not armed robbers or terrorists as claimed by the DSS.
“You cannot just be calling them Boko Haram because the security men are at war with Boko Haram.
“Since DSS said it was a joint operation, we asked them to produce their men that had joint operation with the army. The question we ask is, is there supposed to be a joint operation between the army and DSS without the police?
“The IG and Commissioner of police said they do not know about the joint operation. The question is now, who went with DSS on the joint operation?
“I think that if they must have joint operation, the police must know but the commissioner of police told us he did not know about it.”
On the next line of action, he said, “we have already petitioned the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Defence staff, the National Human Rights Commission, and the Inspector General of Police because we cannot allow this to continue to happen.
“We are taking this matter to court. We have our lawyers here; they have gone to interview those that were injured so as to take the next line of action. We are in a democracy and this is why we can’t allow this to happen,” Nadabo said.