Jan 2nd, 2013 – Nigerian State Governors’ Convoys Accidents Killed 26 People Within 3 Years – Investigation
Accidents involving convoys of state governors and other very important persons claimed at least 26 lives in the past three years, investigations by The PUNCH have revealed.
The auto crashes, which occurred in different parts of the country, also maimed and injured many and destroyed property and vehicles.
Curiously, at least 33 state governors turned down the request to include officers of the Federal Road Safety Commission in their convoys.
Our correspondent learnt that because of the reckless driving habit of drivers in the convoys of governors, the FRSC had requested several times that its officers be posted to be part of the convoys.
Only three state governors were said to have granted the request. The governors who granted the FRSC request, our correspondents learnt, were Rochas Okorochas of Imo State; Rabiu Kwankwanso of Kano State; and Alhaji Yisa Yuguda of Bauchi State.
A source at the FRSC said the Commission had complained several times about the conduct of the governors’ convoys and those of other very important persons who breached traffic rules and regulations with impunity.
Many of the governors’ convoys had been involved in road accidents.
The latest of such involved Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State on December 28, 2012. Wada’s aide-de-camp, Mohammed Idris, died in the accident while the governor who suffered a broken thigh and was discharged on Tuesday from Cedarcrest Hospital, Abuja, where he underwent surgery.
Checks revealed that the FRSC in May, 2012 conducted a test on governors’ drivers and found out that most of them had poor eyesight and high blood pressure.
An online publication, Premium Times, recently reported that the test by the FRSC revealed that nearly 300 driver got their jobs either without a valid driving licence or possessed expired licences.
The driving licence of at least one of them had not been renewed since 1998.
Curiously, in a post-training report, a copy, of which was sent to Chairman, Governors Forum, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the Corps Marshal, Osita Chidoka, merely advised that violators should be withdrawn from driving, or be properly licensed.
The FRSC did not make any suggestion for penalties as stipulated in its laws which it often applied to commercial and private drivers.
Our correspondent learnt that Chidoka’s conciliatory letter was meant to avoid a confrontation with the governors’ forum which could harm the corps well-being as well as the need to avoid a political controversy.
A senior corps officer said the FRSC could not afford to confront the governors and other VIPs on the issue of safety.
“We can only appeal to them and hope that they take the necessary cues from our various enlightenment programmes,” the source said.
Findings revealed that only the governors of Kano, Imo and Bauchi states allowed FRSC personnel to lead their convoys and moderate the speed of their vehicles.
Among several instances, the convoy of former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje, on December 13, 2012, reportedly ran over one Haruna Maigari and injured two others at Tumu Village in Akko Local Government Area of the state.
Haruna Maigari was the son of Mallam Maigari Maimanja whom the ex-governor had gone to visit at Tumu Village. The elder Maigari had lost a sister.
Also on November 24, 2012, a roadside orange seller was killed by a speeding convoy belonging to the late Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa.
A commissioner’s car in the former governor’s convoy allegedly ran over the orange seller in Kaduna. The car of the Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Suleiman Richifa, was later fingered as the culprit.
Senator Chris Anyanwu is currently engaged in a face-off with Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, for allegedly ordering his security detail to attack her convoy and beat up her security men.
But Okorocha’s spokesman, Ebere Uzoukwu, denied the claim by the senator, saying Anyanwu breached protocol by using a siren, which had been banned in the state.
“The senator’s vehicle suddenly rammed into the governor’s convoy close to the staff car, cutting off the lead security vehicle after overtaking dangerously and in a very suspicious manner,” Uzoukwu said.
At least three political aides of the Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, were killed in a multiple auto crash involving Al-Makura’s convoy on September 24, 2012.
Several other persons, including the governor’s son riding in the convoy were reported to have sustained various degrees of injuries when their vehicles were involved in an accident along Gadabuke-Keffi road in Nasarawa.
The convoy of an Ondo State Senator, Ajayi Boroffice, was reported to have run into the car of a certain elderly lady, 58-year-old Mrs Florence Olusori. The woman eventually died at the hospital two hours later, according to her son, Peter.
In early 2012, three journalists were killed in an accident involving the convoy of the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomole, sparking allegations that the crash was planned by opposition People Democratic Party. The party had denied the allegation.
[PUNCH NG Reports]