Tensions flared at Garki International Market in Abuja on Thursday night as a Department of State Services (DSS) operative allegedly shot and killed a fashion designer, sparking a violent protest that was eventually quelled by the Federal Capital Territory Police Command.
The incident unfolded when a female customer brought the DSS official to the victim’s shop, accusing the fashion designer, identified as Muhammad Habibu, of failing to deliver clothes on an agreed-upon date. Habibu’s colleagues intervened in an attempt to resolve the dispute, but this only exacerbated the situation, leading to a heated argument.
As tempers flared, a gunshot rang out, resulting in the tragic death of the fashion designer and injuries to another individual. The DSS operative was promptly arrested and detained at the Wuse Market Police Station.
Speaking anonymously, a trader in the market explained, “We later heard a gunshot and learnt that the fashion designer had been killed and another injured. The DSS operative was arrested and detained at Wuse Market Police Station. That is where all our people are now.”
The FCT Police Command responded swiftly to the incident, and in a statement, SP Josephine Adeh, the spokesperson for the FCT Police Command, provided details: “In an incident at Garki International Market on September 7, 2023, an altercation arose between market occupants and certain individuals, including a DSS personnel and a tailor named Muhammad Habibu.”
Adeh continued, “The Garki Divisional Police station mobilised officers in response to a received distress call reporting the invasion of the market by these individuals, who fired shots at a tailor known as Mubarak Mubarak. This incident led to some of the local youths reacting angrily and attempting to confront the DSS personnel involved.”
Damage was inflicted on a section of the Police outpost during the ensuing commotion. However, the situation has since been brought under control, and weapons used in the incident have been recovered.
The Commissioner of Police, FCT, Haruna Garba, emphasized the commitment to maintaining peace and respecting the rights of all citizens within the FCT. He urged market occupants to refrain from engaging in mischief involving public property, especially that which belongs to the security agencies responsible for their well-being.
In response to the incident, the DSS issued a statement through its spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, stating, “The Service has commenced an investigation into the matter. The public is assured that details of the inquiries will be communicated as soon as possible.” Afunanya also assured the public that the DSS would not hesitate to take appropriate disciplinary measures if its staff were found culpable or in violation of standard operating procedures when dealing with the public.
As investigations continue, the tragic incident at Garki International Market has raised concerns about the use of force by security personnel in civilian settings and the need for measures to ensure the safety and rights of all citizens.