Ocholi’s driver may face prosecution for over-speeding – SGF

Ocholi’s driver may face prosecution for over-speeding – SGF
March 09 19:43 2016

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. David Babachir, has said that the federal government is considering prosecution of Mr. Taiwo Elegede, the driver of the late Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. James Ocholi

Addressing journalists after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, Babachir said the driver would be prosecuted because he was indicted in a report presented to the council by the Corps Marshall of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi.

The FRSC had in a report to the council blamed the driver for the accident that killed the minister and members of his family for over-speeding and driving without license. The FRSC also blamed the late minister and members of his family for refusing to use the safety seat belts, which the commission said contributed to their death.

The report reads in part: “There were 10 persons involved in the accident and 9 were adults. The minister and his son died on the spot, while his wife died at the hospital. The driver of the crashed vehicle was moving at excess of the stipulated speed when he had a tyre burst.

“The investigation team gathered that the driver of the backup vehicle had noticed that the minister’s vehicle rear left tyre was under-inflated, and availability of radio communication deprived him of access to the minister’s driver, the repot read in part.

“There was no record on the driver’s licence national database of the driver of the Hon. Minister with the name Taiwo James Elegbede. The Dunlop tyres of the SUV were not expired but were wrongly fixed and could have affected its performance.

“The situation would have been salvaged if there had been a mode of communication between the minister’s car and the backup car, as the latter had noticed the state of the tyres and tried to stop them. The crashed vehicle’s 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 to 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 belt.”

Mr. Oyeyemi stressed the need for certification and re-certification of convoy drivers at intervals of two years of issuance of convoy driver’s license.

He also called for adherence to traffic rules, repairs of potholes on highways and the need for the federal government to lead the campaign on compliance with speed limits, starting with installation of speed limiting devices in commercial vehicles.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir Lawal said the President had approved that the burial “is government affair”.

He said a 13-man burial committee chaired by himself had been set up with Ministers of Labour, Health, Water Resources and Trade and Investment as members.

Other members of the committee include Ocholi’s sister and brother, and Kogi State deputy governor, Simon Achuba.

The SGF added that the president had also approved that Ocholi’s two children who are graduates be employed by the federal government, and two others who are still in school be given scholarship to the university level.

On the burial arrangement, the SGF said the dead bodies would leave the National Hospital on March 17 for Ocholi’s hometown in Dekina, Kogi State; while the interment would be on March 18.