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Report Objectively, Or Face My Wrath, Amaechi Warns Journalists



  • As another Minister, wife, son die as SUV somersaults

The Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi on Sunday read the riot act to journalists  in the Nigerian Maritime Industry,  stressing that they must necessarily write objectively in respect of his activities otherwise, he would individually open communication with their publishers.

“Deal with us objectively. You must deal with us in an objective manner, otherwise, I will be the first person to write to your publishers,  to say I am being blackmailed” Amaechi cautioned a full house of industry news hounds, following the collapse of his visionary effort to merge all Maritime Journalists Associations into one.

Obviously disappointed with the unwillingness of the various associations to acquise to his request, Amaechi also directed all parastatals under him, which includes the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to cut off with immediate effect, the extention of any form of of patronage to all news practitioners’ associations, until they tow his line.

Honorable Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (middle) flanked by Chairman Board of Trustees of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Custom Agent ANCLA, Henry Njoku (right), National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu (second left) and Chief Ambrose Nwuzi, shortly after the Minister was made a member of the board of trustees of the organization in Abuja... Friday.

Honorable Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (middle) flanked by Chairman Board of Trustees of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Custom Agent ANCLA, Henry Njoku (right), National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu (second left) and Chief Ambrose Nwuzi, shortly after the Minister was made a member of the board of trustees of the organization in Abuja… Friday.

 “You want me to give you more time? I will give you more time. If it takes you one week or three weeks, come and tell me when you are ready, but, until then, any parastatal that relates with any association would be doing so against this directives”, Amaechi further warns during an interactive meeting at the Rockview Hotel Apapa,  Lagos, hinting that if the journalists think they could play on his intelligence, they would find him a shrew and willing fighter.

The Minister said he was aware that some group decided against his merger option stressing that he would henceforth treat new hounds  as reporters on individual merits,  while he and the parastatals under him would not touch any Association with the 10 metre pole.

“As I sit here,  I ask myself,  what is your interest? As for me,  if you want to form 10 organizations,  stay,  form them,  but we will not deal with any organization; and any parastatal that does so,  is doing so,  on his own.

“Government will henceforth deal with you as normal reporters.  If any of you writes,  we will acknowledge.  But if any association writes, we will not even acknowledge”, he stated further.

The Minister in anger,  had almost closed down all discussion only 12 minutes from onset,  when an association head suggested a Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) like approach,  where each group retains it’s identity,  but only converging at the center,  in a federated forum.

 The President of MARAN, commended the Minister for a job well done, for his genuie interest in the Maritime sector. He however stated, that it would  be nice if the Minister’s attention is brought to the fact that there’s no crisis in the Maritime Sector, adding that if the Maritime sector should become one then outsiders would believe something isn’t right in the industry and that may not be too good for the Maritime Industry.

Subsequently,  the body posited that it would be nicer if the Minister can leave things the way they are. But if he couldn’t,  then he should give them more time.

Earlier reactions from stakeholders was however mixed as a few lauded him for attempting to gag the media,  while some simply accused him of outrightly being meddlesome.

In the meantime, Minister of State for Labour and Employment James Ocholi (SAN) died yesterday in an accident on the Kaduna-Abuja road. He was 55.

The accident in which Ocholi’s wife, Blessing and son, Aaron also died, occurred at Rijana, Kilometre 57 on the highway.

Ocholi and his wife were married for 27 years.

Kaduna State sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Mr. Francis Udoma said: “The minister and his son died on the spot; the wife died in the government hospital in Doka, Kaduna State.

“The driver, the chief detail, the orderly and the P.A (Personal Assistant ) were injured.”

Kaduna Police spokesman Zubairu Abubakar confirmed the accident, which he said occurred because the Lexus Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) the family was travelling in lost a tyre while on speed.

A source said the Minister was on his way back to Abuja after attending a thanksgiving church service in Kaduna.

Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Kaduna Sector Command ACM Victor Nwokolo told The Nation on telephone that three persons were confirmed dead.

He said the accident occurred when the tyre of the Lexus SUV they were traveling in got bust, causing the vehicle to somersault.

He said bodies of the dead and those injured were taken to the National Hospital.

He said: “There is an accident involving the minister’s convoy. Our men are on ground at the scene of the accident, but I am not the one to disclose what has happened now since he is a serving minister.

“It happened at Doka village and I am not on ground there. We have a unit at Kateri and the ambulance is there. I am talking with them on telephone.”

Residents of Kogi State, where the late minister hailed from, were yesterday thrown into shock.

The eminent lawyer, who hailed from Ogbabede/Abocho in Dekina Local Government Area, was one of President Mohammadu Buhari’s nominees.

Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello was shocked by the minister’s death.

Bello described the late Ocholi as a pragmatic, dynamic, humane and brilliant law officer, who was known around the world for his dexterous approach to legal and political issues and  one of the most unwavering constitutional lawyers Nigeria has ever produced.

The governor recollected how the late Senior Advocate of Nigeria joined other progressive-minded individuals around the country to drive the intellectual pillars of the All Progressives Congress (APC), just as he described the late Ocholi as a complete gentleman who was irrevocably committed to the advancement of Nigeria.

He described his death as an irreparable loss to Kogi State, Nigeria, the APC and the legal profession, praying for the repose of the soul of the departed.

The APC Kogi State chapter, described Ocholi’s death as a great loss.

Treasurer Ismail Yahaya Adesayo described the death “very unfortunate”.

He remembered the late Ocholi as a fine leader who meant well for state and Nigeria.

He lamented that Ocholi died when his service was most needed in the state, praying to God to grant him eternal rest and give his family the fortitude to bear the loss.

He prayed to God not to take away the state’s leaders again, adding that the party is mourning.

Ocholi was the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) governorship candidate during the December 2011 governorship election in Kogi State.

Additional report from Nation


17 die, 3 injured in Kano auto crash



17 die, 3 injured in Kano auto crash

 Seventeen persons died and three others were injured in an auto crash in Yaura village, on Wudil-Bauchi Road, in Albasu Local Government Area.

The Kano State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr. Ibrahim Sallau Abdullahi, confirmed the incident in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Labaran, on Thursday in Kano.

He said that the accident involved a Honda Accord with registration number NSR 81 VW and a Volkswagen Sharon (bus) with registration number NNG 275 XA.

According to the statement, the accident, in which one person escaped unhurt, occurred on Wednesday afternoon.

“Motorists passing by informed our patrol operatives at about 14.20p.m. Upon receiving the information, we quickly dispatched our personnel and vehicle to the scene of the incident to rescue the victims at 14.25p.m,” Abdullahi said.

The sector commander said that the crash occurred as a result of excessive speed, wrongful overtaking which led to a loss of control, and a head-on collision, with one of the vehicles bursting into the fire immediately.

“The crash involved a total of 21 passengers in the two vehicles, out of which 11 adult males, five adult females and one male child lost their lives while three others sustained serious injuries — one adult male, one adult female and one male child,” he said.

Abdullahi said the injured were taken to Wudil General Hospital for treatment, while the corpses of the deceased were handed over to relatives of the victims.

He advised motorists to obey traffic rules and regulations, to avoid needless deaths and injuries on our roads.

The sector commander commiserated with the families of the victims and prayed for the repose of the souls of the departed.

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Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway: Truck crushes commercial motorcyclist, passenger driving one-way



Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway: Truck crushes commercial motorcyclist, passenger driving one-way

A commercial motorcyclist and his passenger, on Wednesday, were killed, after colliding with a truck, at Bible College area on Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Sector Commander in Ogun, Mr. Ahmed Umar, confirmed the accident to newsmen on Wednesday in Ota, Ogun.

Umar said that the accident, which happened at about 9.10 a.m., involved four people, a vehicle and a Bajaj motorcycle.

He said that the motorcycle, with no registration number, drove against traffic and collided with a Daf truck, marked: KTG 941 YG, leading to the death of the Okada rider and the passenger, while two others were unhurt.

“The corpses of the dead had been deposited at the morgue of the General Hospital, Ifo,” he said.

The sector commander blamed the accident on excessive speeding and route violation.

He advised motorists and okada riders to desist from excessive speeding to avoid unnecessary loss of life.

Umar also cautioned them to refrain from driving against traffic to prevent mishaps on the highway. 

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10 roasted on Oyo-Ogbomoso Road; 5 burnt beyond recognition on Badagry-Seme Expressway



Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway: Truck crushes commercial motorcyclist, passenger driving one-way

 No fewer than 10 passengers were burnt to death on Oyo-Ogbomoso road on Thursday, just as five persons were burnt beyond recognition in a fatal accident on the Badagry-Seme Expressway in Lagos on Thursday.

The passengers, involved in a head-on collision involving a Mazda and a Toyota Hiace passenger buses, were burnt beyond recognition.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) confirmed the incident on Thursday in Ibadan.

The FRSC Sector Commander in the state, Joshua Adekanye, said the incident occurred at about 5.30 a.m. around Kilometres 12 Ijawaya on Oyo-Ogbomoso road.

He said that the buses with registration numbers LEM 963 XA and NSR 222 ZS were coming from Lagos and Nasarawa states respectively.

Adekanye said that the vehicles went on flame immediately resulting in the burning of the occupants.

He attributed the cause of the accident to speeding and overloading.

He called on motorists to always shun night travelling, speeding and overloading, adding that the fatality would have been reduced if the drivers were not on night journeys.

In another development, five persons were burnt beyond recognition while three others sustained injuries in a fatal accident on the Badagry-Seme Expressway in Lagos, also on Thursday.

*The remains of the Honda Pilot Jeep involved in a fatal accident on Badagry-Seme Expressway on Thursday.

Mr Sulaiman Taiwo, Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) at Badagry, confirmed the accident.

He told newsmen that the accident occurred at Akoro Village, on the Badagry-Sème Expressway.

The accident involved a Honda Pilot SUV with registration number LSR 772 HE and motorcycle with an unidentifiable registration number.

Taiwo said the driver of the Honda Pilot must have been over-speeding and lost control before hitting the motorcycle laden with petrol.

“The driver of the jeep collided with the motorcycle resulting in an explosion.

10 roasted on Oyo-Ogbomoso Road; 5 burnt beyond recognition on Badagry-Seme Expressway

“By the time we got to the scene, the raging fire had burnt three persons beyond recognition, while two others lost their lives during the rescue operation.

“Three persons that survived the inferno were taken to the General Hospital in Badagry while the five corpses were deposited at the mortuary in the same hospital,’’ he said.

Taiwo added that the prompt response by personnel of the Customs Service, Fire Brigade, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the police have restored normalcy to the area.

 Speaking later with our correspondent, the Medical Director, General Hospital, Badagry, Dr Olatunde Bakare, said some relations of the dead had reported claiming the bodies, while the three survivors were receiving treatment at the Emergency Unit of the hospital.

He urged motorists and other road users to stop carrying petrol inside jerry cans in their vehicles as the rate at which the hospital was treating victims of fire incidents was alarming.

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