(NAN) The Police have confirmed that seven persons were shot dead in two uncompleted buildings behind the National Assembly Quarters in Apo, Abuja , early on Friday.
The buildings are located at Zone E in the area.
Mr Sunday Odukoya, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in-Charge of Abuja Metro Area Command, confirmed the killings to newsmen on Friday.
Commenting on an allegation that the victims were killed by soldiers, Odukoya said: “I have not heard something like that.
“But the issue is when a matter happens like this, we do investigation, people will tell us what happened, we will gather more intelligence.’’
Some people, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the scene of the incident, said that gunshots were heard at midnight and that the shooting lasted for an hour.
A resident of the area, Umar, said nine people had been taken to hospital apart from the seven dead.
“They came and shared themselves, some lay on the floor, some went inside, some standing,’’ he said.
A resident of the area, who identified himself as Femi, told NAN that the shooting started about 11.45p.m. on Thursday and lasted till midnight.
“This morning we heard that a lot of people died, while some were wounded and had been taken to the hospital.
The FCT Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Altine Daniel, confirmed that there was an incident at the uncompleted buildings but added: “I do not have the briefing, honestly.’’
However, Malam Huwal Umaru, the leader of labourers in the area, said six men in army uniform came into the uncompleted building where no fewer than 100 laborers were staying and started shooting.
“At the end of the operation, seven of my people were killed and many were injured, the uniformed men also went away with 15 of our people.
“We don’t even know their fate now, may be they are alive or dead and when we took a count we could not account for three,’’ Umaru said.
He said the armed men came in two jeeps, the white one was parked at the entrance of the gate leading to the street while the black one was stationed at the junction adjacent to the street.
He said when they got to the front of the building; they started shooting, rousing the people from sleep.
“It was the sound of the gun that woke the people up, they were confused and ran to the direction of the attackers.
“Those that were not sleeping were able to prevent more people from running outside,’’ he said.
Umaru said that before the tragic event, a security man from Kaduna State, had left the building with his girlfriend and his friend.
Umaru said for more than one year they had been living peacefully in the uncompleted building,
“We are into various menial jobs like shoe shining, masonry, selling tea, while some drive keke NAPEP (tricycle).
“This is a place we have been living for over one year, not free of charge and we don’t constitute nuisance to anybody,’’ he said.
Umaru said that on Wednesday the owner of the building came to pay the security man guarding the structure his salary and in the process noticed some movements within.
He said after series of investigation and questioning, he got to know that some people were hibernating in the building and he gave them a week’s notice to vacate.
“The man warned us that if we don’t vacate the building by Wednesday, he would make life unbearable for us, as he would bring solders to chase us away,’’ Umaru said.
He said they had an agreement with the security man to be paying N200 weekly per person.
“We don’t have problem with anybody, all we do is to go out in the morning to look for our daily bread and come back to lay our head,’’ Umaru said.
One of the security men in one of the houses on the street said that the uniformed men were more than six but only six went for the operation.
He said he and his colleagues were outside the building when the people came and ordered them to go inside their house and lock the windows.
He said that few minutes after the instruction; they heard gunshots and shouts of agony by people.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the victims were all male.
NAN reports that the corpses were taken away in an ambulance belonging to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps on Friday. (NAN)