A witness says Governor Akpabio’s convoy drove against traffic at neck-break speed, blaring siren and swerving from side-to-side in a show of raw power
Security operatives on Monday afternoon arrested the convoy of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswil Akpabio, for driving against traffic in Abuja.
The governor’s convoy which was heading towards the Three Arms Zone in the nation’s capital was said to have encountered a mild traffic jam close to the Nigeria Police Headquarters.
President Goodluck Jonathan was said to be leaving Aso Rock Villa for the National Executive Council, NEC, meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP at the Wadata House national secretariat of the party at the time of the incident.
As the presidential convoy moved out of the Villa towards Shehu Shagari Way, security operatives blocked the road to regular traffic.
While other road users stopped for the presidential convoy, the governor’s convoy which came from Asokoro was unwilling to queue.
A witness said the convoy made a detour and drove against traffic at neck-break speed, blaring siren and swerving from side-to-side in a show of raw power.
Alarmed at the audacity of the convoy to break the presidential road blockade, some heavily armed soldiers and police officers moved swiftly and arrested the governor’s convoy.
A hot verbal exchange ensued when the security operatives insisted that the governor’s convoy would not continue on its journey.
The governor’s convoy was however, cautioned and released after the intervention of security operatives attached to the governor.
Some road users who witnessed the drama applauded the security operatives for arresting the governor’s convoy, noting that nobody is above the law.
“It was consoling to see how the soldiers and policemen confronted the governor’s convoy for driving against the flow of traffic,” one of the witnesses said.
“I wonder why those we elect to uphold the law and defend the common people violate the law with this level of recklessness.”
When contacted on the telephone, the Federal Capital Territory’s Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Ms. Altine Daniel said, “I can’t comment on that because it is a national issue.”
However, attempts to speak with the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umana were unsuccessful as he would neither take our calls nor reply to our text message.
Earlier investigations by PREMIUM TIMES show that state governors force their drivers to drive above speed limits thereby compromising the safety of other road users.
In a report by the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC in 2012, state governors’ drivers blamed their reckless on their principals, who they accused of compelling them to violate speed limits.
The drivers said time and again, in a bid to keep with schedules or skirt exigencies, the governors encourage over-speeding, and sometimes assume the wheels themselves under an apparently unfit state of mind.
The findings came as part of observations compiled by the commission during weeks of training it organised for hundreds of governors’ drivers across the nation.
The training held at 12 locations, and 22 states took part in the sessions.
According to the FRSC, 12 state governors were involved in accidents between 2008 to 2012, many of them fatal.
The FRSC report, parts of it earlier published exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES, highlighted much of the behind-the scenes activities of the racy convoys, which other motorists and commuters accuse of recklessness and harassment.
Between 2012 and date, about three convoy accidents have been recorded across the country including an unidentified convoy of 7 vehicles that killed two and injured 9 along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on November 14, 2013.
While no life was lost in the accident that involved the convoy of Edo State Governor, Adam Oshiomhole, that of Idris Wada of Kogi State took the life of Prof. Festus Iyayi, a prominent member of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria, ASUU.
The Kogi Sector Command of the FRSC blamed the crash that led to the death of Mr. Iyayi, on wrongful overtaking by a vehicle in Mr. Wada’s convoy.
The state FRSC commander, Olakunle Motajo, said preliminary report suggested the accident was caused by a Toyota Hilux bus in Mr. Wada’s convoy.
Mr. Iyayi died instantly while two others, including a woman, who sustained fracture in her left arm, were injured while the driver of the bus escaped unhurt.
But the spokesperson for the FRSC, Julius Agu, told PREMIUM TIMES the commission remained committed to enforcing its laws, suggesting that where violations were confirmed, there would be penalties.