The family of the late Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi, SAN, has alleged foul play in Sunday’s accident that claimed the lives of the minister, his wife and son along the Kaduna-Abuja expressway.
An uncle of the deceased, Abdallah Aliu, who raised the alarm on behalf of the family yesterday, called for the investigation of the late minister’s driver, who unfortunately, reportedly lost the battle to live at the National Hospital in Abuja on Monday.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who was at the residence of the late Ocholi in Abuja, while responding to the call, promised that an investigation will be conducted.
“The acting Permanent Secretary is here, she is the one in charge of human resources. We will find out and investigate it. We will do, but I can tell you that our personal drivers are known to us and we both keep our personal drivers. We will find out and investigate this”, Ngige said.
According to Aliu, the driver of the Sports Utility Vehicle conveying the minister from Kaduna back to Abuja but had a burst tyre and somersaulted several times, would ordinarily be unconscious, but instead, the driver, whose identity has not been revealed, took photographs of the deceased and uploaded them on social media.
He also argued that the driver and the orderly should have cordoned off the place and evacuated the corpses in line with standard practice whenever a VIP was involved in an accident.
Aliu said, “Distinguished Senator Ngige, I know you very well. When James Ocholi was told to work with you, I knew he was in good hands because the last time I saw you was in Anambra State. We ate with you in your house as a governor.
“This man that just died is not a lone person. We leave this responsibility in your care. Whoever recruited the driver and posted (redeploy) him should be investigated. It can happen to anybody, it can happen to any minister. It can happen because it has happened.
“So, we want to know who recruited the driver, and at what speed (he was during the trip) to the extent that the corpse of the deceased cannot even be recognised. Can you imagine that? I am worried, it is worrisome”.
Shedding more light on his allegations later during a telephone interview with The PUNCH, Mr. Aliu said the aim of those behind the fatal accident, whom he claimed to know but refused to disclose their identities, was to derail the focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Aliu added, “There was a kind of foul play in the whole exercise, which is very worrisome. Apparently, the driver who drove the car was the same person who took the photo of the dead man and sent it all over the Internet – WhatsApp and others. So, the question is: how come that the driver of the vehicle in the same car was able to take the picture of the dead man?
“The side of the door, where the Honourable Minister sat, was not properly locked because after the car somersaulted, the thing flung him and so he had a terrible and fatal damage that his body was beyond recognition.
There was a foul play in Ocholi’s death.
“While I was in his house, I already knew because those who conspired and plotted it (the death) became jittery because I have never been to that house and they don’t know me. But somehow, they became jittery, scared and worried.
“This thing they did is political, it is a political war and some people want to score some political points against the system somehow. The death of Ocholi is quite suspicious.
“So, I had to hurriedly leave because God has made me to know what happened and we know that they will get the people who are responsible. When you are innocent, God will always uncover how certain things happened. Ocholi’s death is a great loss to the common people of Nigeria. And the spirit of the common people of Nigeria is fighting back.
“The perpetrators want to derail the focus of this administration. They are looking for every way to put a wedge in the wheel of success. I can specifically pinpoint those who plotted these things. What they are trying to do now is to knock heads together and the earlier we get rid of them out of that place, the better.
“As we were there, they were trying to get the contacts of the ministers that came there for condolence, making phone calls and reporting back to whoever is their manipulator.
“They decided to get rid of Ocholi to derail the focus of the government. Ocholi was not smart enough to know that these things could happen. They have lost, failed and we will ask God to forgive them because they have taken a soul that they cannot create”.