Apr 30, 2012

Auto crash: They were after my life – Oshiomhole


GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, yesterday, said weekend’s accident involving his convoy, in which three journalists lost their lives, was an attempt on his life, as the tipper driver rammed into his official vehicle, while the car he  personally drove, escaped by the whiskers.
Oshiomhole, who spoke on the accident at Government House, Benin City, lamented that it took him and other survivors close to 40 minutes to remove the journalists from their mangled bus.

Meanwhile, a crack team of detectives is investigating the ghastly motor accident,  in which three journalist lost their lives on the Warrake-Auchi Road, Etsako West Local Government Area of the state.
Olatunji Jacob and George Okosun, both of Independent Television, ITV, and Fidelis Ohani camera man attached to African Independent Television, AIT and a driver attached to the state Government House, Samson Inobemhe, lost their lives.
Oshiomhole, yesterday, said: “I wept when I saw the way the journalists were trapped.” He condoled with the Nigeria Union of Journalists,NUJ, on the loss of its members.
He said he had been receiving messages that officials of his government were targets of assassination and kidnap before the tragic incident.
“If I was in the regular jeep (my official car), the guy would have hit me. I was in a small car which I decided to drive myself. The tipper pushed that jeep off the road and then crashed into the bus conveying the journalists.
“It is a straight road, so if he lost control, he would have swerved into the bush. When I asked the motor boy yesterday (Sunday) where the driver was, he said he opened the door of the vehicle and fled. He claimed the driver just said he should follow him. I then asked him if he was not under 18 and why follow a man to another local government area without asking questions.
“Well, we have asked the State Security Service, SSS and the police to investigate the accident, but before we knew it, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was already issuing condolence message. I haven’t cried for a long time but when I saw the ITV man (George Okosun) and then the AIT man (Fidelis Ohane), I wept. From the time of my campaign in 2006, they had followed me all the way through the judicial process until now and they all have families, young families. We well get to the root of the matter.
“The truck hit them head on and smashed the bus. To open it, they had to use axe to cut the bus. You saw people bleeding but you couldn’t get them out; some, we had to loosen the bolts of the seat to remove them. For about 40 minutes, we were trying to get them out but God took control.”
Meanwhile, at press time,the Chief Detail to the governor and other security operatives, in the convoy were also receiving treatment at the intensive unit of the Benin Central Hospital.
 Team of detectives, including officers drawn from the State Security Services, SSS, have commenced investigation into the accident in order to ascertain whether it was a planned attempt on the governor’s life.
A top security officer, who craved anonymity, told Vanguard: “We are worried because the governor was not in his usual car but was in a BMW Station Wagon in front of the convoy while his usual vehicle was right behind the BMW. So the report was that the tipper rammed into the convoy hitting what was supposed to be the governor’s usual vehicle.
“It meant that something could have happened to the governor, if he was in his usual car.”