The driver of the Lexus SUV in which Minister of State (Labour and Employment) James Ocholi died may face prosecution, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal, said yesterday. Ocholi, his wife and son died in an accident on Sunday on the Kaduna-Abuja road.
An interim report of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) claims that the driver, James Elegbede, was over speeding and had no license.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the SGF said the final report on the accident will determine if Elegbede will be prosecuted.
He said: “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.” Lawal said the Federal Government did not extend 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.
He said: “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.”