By Yekini JimohÂ in Lokoja
A driver in the convoy of the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada,Â Mallam Danladi Baba has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for reckless driving and causing the death of Professor Festus Iyayi in a car crash sometime in November, 2013.Â
Mallam Danladi Baba was the back-up pilot driver in the convoy of the immediate past governor of Kogi State,Â Captain Idris Wada. Â
The late Iyayi was killed in road accident along Lokoja-Abuja highway when the back-up pilot vehicle in the convoy of the former governor rammed into the Toyota Hiace belonging to UNIBEN local chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) traveling to Kano.Â
Alhassan Husaini of Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court IIÂ on FridayÂ in his judgement on the case of one-count charge of Causing Death by Dagerous and Reckless Driving preferred against the driver found him guilty of the offence and thereby convictedÂ him.Â
Husaini said that the penal clause under section 5 of the Federal Highway Act CAP F. 13 of 2004 being mandatory position coupled with the severity of the offence tied the hands of the court.Â
“I have no option than to sentence you, Danladi Baba, to seven years imprisonment without an option of fine”, the Chief Magistrate ruled. Â
Husaini used the occasion to caution VIP drivers on their recklessness especially while on convoys saying, “What is regrettable in this case is the serious abuse of privilege of late, by VIP convoys.
Â “These siren-blaring convoys force on-coming and other categories of vehicles off the roads in a manner that exposes law-abiding road users to hazards.”Â
The convict, Baba who burst out crying uncontrollably upon pronouncement of his sentence was said to have committed the offence at aboutÂ 11:30amÂ on November 12th, 2013 on the Federal Highway in Banda area of Lokoja.
Â According to the prosecution, Baba, while driving a Toyota Hilux pick-up belonging to Kogi State Government on the convoy of the then governor of Kogi, Capt. Idris Wada drove dangerously and recklessly without regard for other road users. Â
The action, according to the prosecution made him to have a near head-on collision with the Toyota Hiace belonging to UNIBEN local chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) traveling to Kano.Â
The bus, in an attempt to swerve and avoid the collision, skidded and rolled over several times leading to the death of Prof. Iyayi and as well injured Mrs. Ngozi Iloh and Dr. Enchanted Anthony. Â
According to the prosecution, Iyayi who was held down by the seat belt holding some papers lost his life as all attempts toÂ revive him failed .
“He was called several times but couldn’t answer. He was taken to Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja and later, Specialist Hospital, Lokoja where he was confirmed dead,â€ they narrated.