A driver in the Kogi State governor’s convoy, Danladi Baba, who caused the death of a former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Festus Iyayi, in November 2013, has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for reckless driving and causing Iyayi’s death.
Alhassan Husaini of the Lokoja Chief Magistrates’ Court II handed down the judgment on the allegation of “causing death by dangerous and reckless driving” levelled against the driver.
He found him guilty of the offence and thereby convicted him. Husaini said that the penal clause under Section 5 of the Federal Highway Act CAP F. 13 of 2004, being the mandatory position, coupled with the severity of the offence, tied the hands of the court.
“I have no option than to sentence you, Danladi Baba, to seven years’ imprisonment without an option of fine,” the Chief Magistrate ruled.
Husaini used the occasion to caution VIPs’ drivers on their recklessness, especially while driving in convoys, saying, “What is regrettable in this case is the serious abuse of the privilege of late by VIP convoys.
“These siren-blaring convoys force oncoming and other categories of vehicles off the roads in a manner that exposes law-abiding road users to hazard.” The convict, Baba, who burst out, crying uncontrollably upon pronouncement of his sentence, was said to have committed the offence at about 11:30 am on November 12, 2013, on the Federal Highway in the Banda area of Lokoja.
According to the prosecution, Baba, while driving a Toyota Hilux van belonging to the Kogi State Government on the convoy of the then-Governor of Kogi State, Capt. Idris Wada, drove dangerously and recklessly without regard for other road users.
The action, the prosecution said, made him have a near head-on collision with the Toyota Hiace belonging to the University of Benin chapter of ASUU travelling to Kano.
The bus skidded and rolled over several times, leading to Iyayi’s death, as well as the injury of Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Iloh and Dr. Enchanted Anthony.