Interim report indicts Ocholi’s driver

Ocholi, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, died in the crash at kilometre 34, on the Kaduna-Abuja expressway, near Rijana village, on Sunday, March 6, 2016. PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo

James Ocholi, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, died in the crash at kilometre 34, on the Kaduna-Abuja expressway, near Rijana village, on Sunday, March 6, 2016. PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo

The driver of the late Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. James Enojo Ocholi, has been indicted in the crash that killed the late minister, his wife and son.

The Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Boboye Oyeyemi, while submitting an interim report on the cause of the fatal crash to the Federal Executive Council said the driver was “moving in excess of the stipulated speed when he had a tyre burst.”

The driver, James Elegbede, was also indicted for having no record of valid driver’s license in the drivers’ database.

The Corps Marshal revealed that the investigations showed that the late minister and his son did not use the seat belts and were forcibly ejected from the vehicle when it somersaulted due to burst tyre.

“The ejection of the minister and his son, who occupied rear seats confirmed the fact that their rear seat belts were not in use and, on the contrary, the driver and the Orderly survived because the front seat belts were used.

“There was no record of the drivers’ license National Data Base of the driver of the Hon. Minister with the name, Taiwo James Elegbede. However, there was record found on the driver’s license National database of the driver of the Hon. Minister’s backup vehicle with the name Ibrahim Abubakar.

“Information gathered revealed that the driver of the crashed vehicle was actually moving in excess of the stipulated speed when he had a burst tyre.

“The weather and vehicle mechanical conditions did not contribute to the break-crash factors that led to the occurrence of this crash.

However, Oyeyemi noted that the crash might have been aggravated by the fact that the tyres of the crashed vehicle were not properly fixed and had no proper alignment.



16 Comments
  • Big-Son-of-Man

    HERE WE GO AGAIN!

    So the what about the speed of the accompanying vehicle in the convoy that collided with the Minister’s vehicle; was the other driver within the speed limit or not?
    How did the Corps Marshall establish and come to conclusion that the poor driver was moving in excess of the stipulated speed when he had a tyre burst; any scientific verification?
    The crash MIGHT have been aggravated by the fact that the tyres of the crashed vehicle were NOT properly fixed and had no proper alignment…;
    The Corps Marshall failed to emphasise on the condition of the road (very driveable or with required cautions)!
    ANOTHER GUESS WORK INDEED BY THE CORPS MARSHALL!
    IT’S A COMPLETE JOKE THAT THE WHOLE FEDERAL STATE MINISTER WAS DRIVEN BY AN OFFICIAL DRIVER WHOSE DRIVER’S LICENCE RECORD COULD NOT BE FOUND ON THE NATIONAL DATABASE OF DRIVERS’ LICENCES!
    WHOSE DUTY IS IT ENSURE THAT THE OFFICIAL DRIVERS FOR CABINET MINISTERS ARE VETTED ACCORDINGLY PRIOR TO BEING ENGAGED OFFICIALLY (INCLUDING PROPER CHECKS ON THE DRIVING LICENCE’S VALIDITY)?
    SO THE NIGERIAN NUMBER ONE CITIZEN (PMB) MAY/COULD HAVE BEEN DRIVEN BY AN UNQUALIFIED DRIVERS.

    GOD HELP US IN NIGERIA!

    NOW THE UNRELIABLE CORPS MARSHALL EMBARKS ON MAKING THE POOR DRIVER THE ‘WHIPPING BOY’.

    THIS SO CALLED CORPS MARSHAL SHOULD BE RELIEVED OF HIS DUTIES WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT; HE’S DEFINITELY NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE!

    NIGERIANS ARE REQUESTING FOR A COMPLETE AND GENUINE CHANGE; NOT A MEDIOCRE CHANGE THAT GETS US NO WHERE!

    • chukwudozie duru

      I agree with you in some aspect but majority of what you said can actually be verified, you can verified the speed level of a vehicle with the right equipment been plugged into the electronic system of the vehicle.
      Two when tyres are not properly fitted in can cause a more serious accident .
      Three you cannot blame the FRSC for a driver in the federal service not having a proper national drivers license because here in Nigeria we never took any thing serious until we are forced to do so, this driver might be one of those who knows somebody in a position of authority and power and through him he gets the job.
      Four it is a common sense to wear seat belt but majority of the people that drives on our road does not obey that rule , it baffles me most times to see educated people actually leading the way in not wear seat belt than a secondary school lever .
      Five another factor that this report is not mentioning is the reckless driving method of drivers especially with siren or when a government official is within the vehicle.
      sIx, were there speed limit sign posted on the road ? (This area i blame the road safety)

      • Big-Son-of-Man

        Thanks my bro on your comments, the fact remains that all points mentioned are known potential risks which could have resulted in the accident and the unfortunate outcome of the loss of lifes. Accepting the speed of the vehicle could be determined, which I was never in doubt of; my bone of contention is that it was simply mentioned that the driver was over speeding without any reference to the actual level of speed undertaken by the vehicle at the time of the accident, in comparison to the legally permitted speed on that particular stretch of road. Also not taking into consideration and mentioning that of the other vehicle involved which formed part of the Minister’s convoy.
        It is incomprehensible to accept that the driver will be doing such excessive speeding as claimed and the Late Honourable Minister and his wife, etc would not have cushioned him on this.
        Overall, it does make it look like a guess work.
        Secondly, I very much assume that it would have been very difficult to conclude that the tyres were not properly fitted and safely aligned prior to embarking on the journey; based on the state of the said vehicle after the accident.
        I blamed and continue to blame the government officials/department responsible for the recruitment and administration of the Public Officials’ drivers in regard to vetting of drivers and not FRSC.
        Professionally, the FRSC Chief should have presented a constructive and acceptable report, whether interim/brief/draft, with relevant statistics and facts.

  • Smooth Edge

    These assertions by the Marshall is reckless and unprofessional to say the least. The driver, who has no valid driver’s license of FRSC (national database) knew enough to wear his seatbelt. Hmmm. How did he qualify for the job? How long had he been driving in his life before the accident? How old is he? How long had he been driving the Minister before the accident? What is the stipulated speed limit? How did this Marshall ascertain the speed at which the accidented vehicle was going as at the time of the tyre burst. The Marshal should have checked the sound tyres and guaged them for appropriate PSI. The only thing outside providence that can make new tyre burst in transit is over-inflation. Tyre expansion will naturally occur in transit due to heat generated by contact with the road. In noonday heat as was the case when the accident happened, expansion would have been rapid. The marshal should have factored in expansion and not insult Nigeria. The Marshal should go back and investigate, then report on how a rear tyre burst in transit can result into this kind of atrocious accident.

    • akeebaba

      THE CORPS MARSHALL KNEW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT CONCERNING THE SPEED, GO AND GOOGLE IT. THE ODOMETER OF THE MODERN VEHICLE IS DESIGN TO “”JAM”” AT THE SPEED IT WAS TRAVELLING WHENEVER IT “HIT” AN OBSTRUCTION OR “”LOST CONTROL””

      • Phils

        The report lacks professional touch expected of an organisation like FRSC with respect to accident investigation. Did the speed cause tyre burst? What does the driver licence got to do with the trye burst. Or is the FRSC opining that had the driver’s data been in the data base the vehicle could have magically been prevented from somersaulting?. Nigerians expect that FRSC should first be able to fully understand what it is doing so as to be in position to issue useful directions but as it is this is not the case. The reason FRSC is concentrating on speed is to use this sad event to advance their selfish interest in advocating the use of speed limiter device which at best in only a useless additional burden on Nigerians

        • Iskacountryman

          you are an illiterate…

      • Iskacountryman

        thank you son…educate them…

    • Jangirova

      Are you surprised at the level of professionalism in the investigation ? what do you expect when people get job based on who they know. Though some will smartly go on and upgrade themselves but most don’t.

  • Juungle Man

    Hissing

  • francisca nwokeocha

    Taught there was news that the driver died at national hospital while receiving treatment. Anyway, who is to be blamed if a driver in a federal employment do not have valid drivers license? As per the speed rate, was the FRSC boss in the vehicle or around the scene of the accident? Even if he was over speeding the onus lies on his boss to caution him.

  • Iskacountryman

    law breakers…

  • Maigari

    he concern on this tragic accident seems to be on Who to blame and that is the worrying aspect of it all. The FRSC should be more concerned on safety and the issues that directly affect the safety of motorists.
    There is no gain saying that fact that thousands of Nigerians have died in automobile accidents many of which were never investigated. The possession of a valid driver;s License only comes in when the matter of the traffic laws are raised. Late Ocholi’s driver apparently has been in the employment of the Federal Government for over two decades as a driver, was it that he was all along driving illegally? Even if it were so why the accident that took away the life of hon. minister Ocholi? That is what the Corps Marshall should have addressed instead of “diverting” attention away from the root cause(s) of the accident.
    If indeed over-speeding is the cause could anyone other than the late hon, minister have cautioned the driver especially in view of the status of the passenger? Speed limits are perhaps observed more in the breach by the Nigerian VIP and that is a fact the Corp Marshall cannot feign ignorance on.
    The driver may face trial for not possessing a valid license but that does not explain the cause and effect that led to the unfortunate accident. perhaps the time to start a national transportation Safety Board in now. the Board will be more conversed on Safety issues not allocating culpability on all accidents within Nigeria with a view of ameliorating the impacts of accidents or better still totally eliminating most of the accidents we have on our roads. that will of course include the condition of the roads themselves, the load factors and other areas the Board may consider necessary for the safety of Nigerians, We have had far too many accidents and the time to act is now.

  • Stella Okafor

    it is really unfortunate that in a situation like this, FRSC is pointing accusing fingers at the poor driver. if the reverse was the case, could there be any investigation on who is at fault??? what role did the late minister play to ensure that his employed driver had all it takes to drive him; driving licence, other competencies ??? is it the driver’s fault that his master fail to comply with road safety rule of using seat belt??? as for tyres bursting, we all know that government officials do not use belgium or fairly used tyres thus why the burst. the federal government and FERMA that allowed the road to dilapidate to this extent were not blamed but the driver.
    let us call a spade a spade and just take this as a divine will. for me the driver should not be punished in any way as he did not contribute in any way to the death of the late minister.as for the driving licence, FRSC do issue these licence in the name of original and they knew the perpetrators of this act but refuse to address it. 70% of driving licence being used by drivers both commercial and private are of this category. i hope this will be a lesson for all cadres of government that are careless about the condition of our roads all over Nigeria. God help us

  • Toate Ganago

    If the driver was speeding the oga could have told him to slow down right? Nigerian big-men are known to speed and not obey traffic Law.They own the road and everyone on the road. Remember Akpabio, who did not obey traffic rule and collided into another vehicle? It appears that they would not be big if they don’t drive in excessive speed. Sad that he died but to blame it on the driver is absurd.

  • Baba Adini

    This is unscientific or unobservable report to make the driver look bad. How did road safety know he was speeding? The story doesn’t tell. This report is missing some features of a good journalistic report of the 5 Ws and the H, which are: Who did that? What happened? Where did it take place? When did it take place? Why did that happen? And how did it take place? Each feature has to have a reliable source and not just blanket statement of over speeding. A front burst tire is worst than the rear and if the tires were not properly fixed, we should expect a loosed tire and not a burst one. Bad roads can burst tire. So, my believe is that bad road killed the minister. It is a shame that despite the sophisticated life style exhibited by Nigerian government officials, it does not translate into good quality of life, which should range from good roads to vehicles equipped with black box (event data recorder (EDR)).

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