Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has said the family of late academic and former president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof Festus Iyayi has a cause of action against the Kogi State Government for the executive recklessness that led to the untimely and gruesome death of the university don.
Speaking with Vanguard in an interview, Falana noted that it was undoubtedly clear that the negligence of a driver of a vehicle in the governor’s convoy that hit the vehicle conveying Professor Iyayi, was responsible for Iyayi’s death, as the impact was so much that he was killed instantly.
“The Kogi State government is vicariously liable while the driver who caused the accident is criminally liable in the circumstance,” Falana said.
Speaking further, he said, “unlike Governor Idris Wada who enjoys immunity from criminal liability, his drivers are not immune from prosecution. So all the drivers indicted in the three road accidents involving the governor in the last few months are liable to be prosecuted for violating traffic laws. This is a clear case of manslaughter. In each of the cases the Kogi State government is obligated by law to pay compensation to the families of the four people who were killed in the three accidents”.
Falana, who said that there are five accidents involving the governor, the deputy governor and Speaker of the House of Assembly of Kogi State in the last two years, noted that it was not surprising “in view of the revelation by the Federal Road Safety Commission boss that Governor Wada did not allow the drivers in his convoy to be trained by the FRSC like the other 700 government drivers across the country. The statement is a very serious indictment which may aggravate the damages payable to the families of those who were recklessly killed by the governor’s convoy.
“The Iyayi’s family and the ASUU are going to take advantage of the killing of Professor Iyayi to prevent further carnage and loss of precious lives on our roads through executive lawlessness.
“The use of siren is going to be reviewed. In the countries where siren is manufactured its use is restricted. It is not for harassing road users but for making way for fire fighting vehicles, ambulances and the police in case of emergencies.
“With all the congestion or traffic jam on Lagos roads, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN does not use siren or chase people out of the road. Why then should the governor of any other state intimidate road users to the extent of killing them? Such executive impunity has to stop,” Falana said.