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Family suspects foul play in Ocholi, wife, son’s death (see photos of the other surviving children)


The Federal Government has promised to investigate how the
driver of the Sport Utility Vehicle, in which the Minister of State for
Labour, Mr. James Ocholi (SAN); his wife, Blessing; and son, Joshua,
died along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway on Sunday, was employed.

The
Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, stated this on Monday while
responding to the call by the relatives of the deceased, including
Ocholi’s uncle, Abdallah Aliu; another relative, Paul Audu; and the
immediate younger sister to the late Blessing, who did not want her name
mentioned, that the driver be investigated.

“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.

The Ocholi family is working on some theories concerning the accident.

The
family members believed that the driver of a car that somersaulted
several times would ordinarily be unconscious and would not take
photographs of the deceased and upload them on social media.

They
also contended that the driver and the orderly should have cordoned off
the place and evacuated the corpses as this had been the tradition
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.”

He also shed light on his allegations later during a telephone interview with The PUNCH.

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.”

The Federal Executive Council will on Wednesday hold a special session to pay tribute to the late Ocholi.

The
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi
Adesina, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Monday.

Adesina said the deceased, being an active member of the council, would be given his due tribute at the special session.

He
said President Muhammadu Buhari, shocked by Ocholi’s sudden death, had
described the accident that claimed his life and those of two other
members of his family as a tragedy of monumental proportion.

Adesina said, “You can feel the soberness in the atmosphere. Everybody believes that this is a terrible tragedy.

“Mr.
President paid glowing tribute to the departed. Their relationship
dated back to the CPC days to the role he played in the APC merger.

“The President just concluded that it is a tragedy of monumental proportion.

“The late Ocholi will be given his dues. He was an active member of the Federal Executive Council.

“I
recall that we shared laughter after the last meeting on some things
that are hilarious. When I heard about the tragedy yesterday, that our
last meeting came to my mind.

“So you can be sure that on Wednesday, the council will pay him his due tribute.”

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