The Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi, said yesterday, that the driver of late Minister of State for Labour, Mr. James Ocholi, would be prosecuted for over-speeding, following the ghastly road crash that claimed the lives of the minister, his wife and son last Sunday. The late minister, Chief James Ocholi (left) and wife He also stated that Ocholi’s driver had no drivers licence as his name was not found on the data base of FRSC.
Oyeyemi, who disclosed these while presenting the accident’s Road Traffic Crash Investigation Interim Report to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, recommended periodic retraining for convoy drivers, adding that late Ocholi and his family members were not on seat belt during the accident.
Overspeeding He said: “Information gathered revealed that the driver of the crashed vehicle was actually moving at excess of the stipulated speed when he had a tyre burst. “The crashed vehicle driver was driving too fast and he slammed on his brake so hard. These two factors materially contributed to the inability of the driver to maintain control when the left rear tyre burst.
“Skid marks and grooves found on the westbound shoulder made by the Lexus LX570 for about 15m and 9.3m respectively before it began somersaulting severely and the ejection of the minister and his son showed clearly that the travelling speed of the Lexus LX570 presented unsafe consequences in the event of certain road risk that may have occurred. “The driver must have entered into a panic situation which resulted in his hard application of brakes and subsequent loss of control that took him into the bush path. “The DOT number of the tyres were inward which cannot easily be read from outside. This indicates that the orientations of the tyres were not properly fixed which could adversely affect the performance of the tyres.
“The Federal Road Safety Corps Investigation Team (FIT) determines that the probable cause of the March 6, 2016, fatal crash at KM34 Kaduna-Abuja expressway near Rijana village, Kaduna State, was the driver’s failure to maintain directional control of his vehicle when the rear left tyre burst occurred.
“Severity of the fatality was increased due to the ejection of the minister and his son as a result of non use of rear seat belts. FRSC recommendations The corps recommended, among other things, for “the certification and re-certification of convoy drivers at intervals of two years of issuance of convoy driver’s licence. “President Buhari should lead the campaign on compliance with speed limits, starting with installation of speed limiting devises in commercial vehicles. “There was no record on the driver’s licence national data base of the driver of the minister with the name Taiwo James Elegbede.
“The ejection of the minister and his son, who occupied the rear seat, confirmed the fact that their rear seat belt were not in use and on the contrary, the driver and the orderly survived because the front seats belt were in use.” Tributes Yesterday’s FEC meeting opened with President Buhari formally announcing the death of the Army General that died in another auto crash in Maiduguri, Borno State, and asked for one minute silence to be observed in honour of the departed. Paying his tributes to late Ocholi, President Buhari extolled the virtue of humility which he said characterized the life of the late minister. He said: “I began to respect his hardwork and humility. When he attempted to be governor of his state, I campaigned for him almost throughout all the local governments but in the system we are running, one will always keep on trying. “He didn’t make it. And then the series of committees we are having, I recalled one particular, ACN, CPC, ANPP, I think APGA and DPP, he represented us and what impressed me about him is that he agreed to serve under a junior lawyer to him.
“That showed a lot of humility because I know of two professions — legal and military — they are very jealous about seniority. But he agreed to serve under a junior lawyer, him being a SAN. Even his contributions here, whether there are memos from his ministry or not, he made substantial contributions. May his soul rest in peace.”
He later signed the condolence register. Similarly, the tributes continued with select ministers representing the six geo-political zones making presentations. Employment, scholarship for children Briefing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, David Babachir, announced automatic employments for two of his children who were already graduates in any government ministry or agency of their choice.
There was also an announcement of automatic scholarship for the remaining two children still in school. He said the gesture was justified in the light of the fact that the children lost their breadwinner. “The President also directed that we find immediate employments for two of them who are graduates. The President has directed that the other two children of school age should be given scholarship up to the university,” he said.
Ocholi’s burial arrangements The SGF also announced that a 13-man expanded burial committee, which he is chairing, had been inaugurated. According to him, members of the committee were drawn from the government, Ochili’s family and his church. He stated that the late minister would be buried on March 18, saying, however, it was subject to amendments as there might be exigencies, adding that the burial would be a full affair of the Federal Government. Ocholi’s driver to be prosecuted Fielding questions from journalists on whether the driver of the accidented vehicle will be prosecuted for driving beyond the official speed limit, the SGF said it was most probably the case as there were still the existence of speed regulatory laws.
This was even as he asked anyone who had contrary view on what might have killed the minister outside auto accident to report to the police. “We will persecute the driver. Nigeria has laws. There is a speed limit in place. We will leave that until the final report of the Federal Road Safety Commission comes up. Anyone who feels it is not an accident is free to report to the police,” he said. FEC members later visited the family of the deceased to pay their respects.