The death of James Ocholi, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Labour is one of the many mysterious and dreaded things that would make the hair behind your neck bristle each time you have to drive through the Kaduna –Abuja road. James Ocholi is not the first celebrity to die on that road in mysterious circumstances. Years back a former ADC to former President Olusegun Obasanjo died on the same road in a way that smirked of controversy with the late ADC’s wife coming out to raise questions about her husband’s death in a bus accident where he alone was the casualty. She believed that her husband was killed. Till date, the conspiracy theory has not gone away.
Before that, some fifteen years ago, the FCMB former Chairman was under serious probe for using the bank for round-tripping. He was to be charged to court. There was a key witness against him who was the lady that was at the centre of all the dollars sold by the bank. The lady was a daughter to former NDLEA boss, Fulani Kwajafa. When the story burst, the lady raised an alarm that her life was under threat and her ex-cop father quickly arranged for her to be under a form of protective custody in Kaduna. She was not to go out of the house at all.
But the lady had a wedding to attend in Abuja. It was her best friend’s wedding and she was part of the planning committee. She had done everything from Kaduna and the wedding as to take place the next day and so under the cover of darkness, she left her hideout in Kaduna. She never got to Abuja. She was killed by a vehicle that left its lane in the dual carriage way and came to hit the vehicle she was travelling. She was the only casualty and she died on the spot.
The anger generated by her death made one of the Kwajafa children to address the press alleging that Subomi Balogun indeed killed their sister, but he could not prove anything.
These are just few among the spate of mysterious and unresolved accidents along the route that links many of the states in the Northwest to Abuja and other parts of Nigeria.
Meanwhile conflicting reports have trailed the death of Ocholi, his third son, Joshua and wife. While some claimed the vehicle was overspeeding, a survivor claimed it was not and that indeed they were not at all on top speed. The survivor claimed that it was a sudden tyre burst that caused the accident and deaths. Experts however say that new tubeless tyres don’t burst like that and that perhaps there must have been some reasons.
The late Minister had five children Aaron the first child is a lawyer and is working so also is Ene who is working in Lagos. The third child Joshua was only recently called to the bar and he was serving before his untimely death. He had two other siblings who are in school in Bauchi and Abuja with the youngest being in SS2.
The Kaduna Abuja road over the years have been known as a den for ritualists who abduct people especially from Abuja and then use them for ritualists in the thick bush that adorn the road. A few who had escaped or had been freed have come back to tell gory tales of what their eyes saw while being held captive by the ritualists. Curiously, pressure on the Police to wade had yielded little or nothing.
The recent mystery surrounding the road however came from an editorial report published by highly respected Northern daily, Daily Trust in which it alleged that kidnappers now operate freely along the road. According to the editorial, the newspaper alleged that after robbing passengers the criminals seize those they believe would have the capacity to generate handsome ransoms and take them away to their camps which are located along the road and in the bush. They feed such kidnapped victim with food stolen from nearby villages and network with relations of their victims until ransoms are paid. Such is the face of terror and mystery that now abound for travellers between Abuja and Kaduna.