Thursday, 10 March 2016

Ocholi's Driver might face charges for misconduct

Late Minister of State, Labour and Empowerment, james Okoli
Just after the revelation made on the 9th of March by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) that the driver of the late Minister of State James Ocholi does not have a driver’s license, the Federal Government has deliberated on the issue.

The Nation reports that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal, who spoke with State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting, on the 9th of March, said the driver of the Lexus jeep, James Elegbede, in which Ocholi died, may face charges.

He equally said a report of the FRSC alleged that Elegbede was over speeding and had no license, adding that the final report on the accident will determine if he will be prosecuted or not. “As to the issue of whether we would prosecute the driver, yes, Nigeria is not short of laws; the problem is that Nigerians find it very difficult to obey the laws.

 “There is a speed limit in place and so if anybody chooses not to obey the traffic laws, of course, it is subject to prosecution by the agencies concerned. But as to this particular incident, I think we will leave it until the final report of the investigation comes out.

 “But, of course, as we say, accident is accident and nobody goes out deliberately to summersault and die, but as to allegations you claimed from the family, we are not aware and anybody who has anything to the contrary – that they didn’t die in an accident – is free to report to the law enforcement agencies who will appropriately take it up,”

He said. The SGF, however, clarified that the federal government did not give automatic employment and scholarship benefits to the driver’s relatives and other surviving victims because they are alive and still on the government’s payroll.

“The government decided to give employment to the children of the late minister because he was the breadwinner and the children are now orphans.

On the other hand, the driver survived and the government is taking care of their medical bills at the National Hospital and they are also government workers as some of them are policemen, SSS operatives and others.

“So they are on salary and are treated free, but God forbids that had any of them suffered the same fate as those who died, the President would have willingly included them on the list of beneficiaries,” Lawal said. Ocholi, his wife, Blessing; son, Joshua and driver died along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway on March 6, in a ghastly car accident. The relatives of late minister is, however, suspecting foul play in the tragedy that struck them. The Punch reports that during a condolence visit from Dr Chris Ngige, the minister of Labour, the relatives of the deceased- Ocholi’s uncle, Abdallah Aliu; another relative, Paul Audu; and the immediate younger sister to the late Blessing Ocholi.

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