At least two police officers have been confirmed dead following a road accident involving the convoy of the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, at Oluku junction in Ovia North-East Local Government Area of Edo State.
Two other people are said to have sustained critical injuries from the accident.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt on Tuesday that the accident happened at about noon in Oluku junction along the busy Benin-Lagos highway. The team were on their way to Usen in Ovia South-West local government area for the APC campaign ahead of the September 19 governorship election.
It was gathered that a trailer carrying a container ran into one of the vehicles in the convoy, killing the two police officers instantly.
Henry Benamaisia, Edo Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, could not confirm the number of casualties as of 6.30 p.m. but he said his officials had been dispatched to the scene of the accident.
“I am trying to find out the authenticity of the incident. I learnt it happened at Oluku junction. I have sent my men there to find out. I will get back to you as soon as I get the details,” Mr Benamaisia said.
The state Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, and the command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, did not pick several calls by the reported to their phones.
But Victor Oshioke, a media aide to Mr Oshiomhole, said the truck veered in the same direction of the convoy and ran into a Toyota Hilux carrying seven policemen.
Mr Oshioke said, “some minutes after noon today, Tuesday, September 1, 2020, there was a motor accident involving the convoy of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, along Benin Lagos by-pass before Oluku junction.
“The convoy was heading to Usen Community in Ovia South-West Local Government Area of Edo State, where Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was expected to appear at a campaign rally alongside Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the APC governorship candidate in the September 19 election in the state, when a trailer driving in the same direction veered off its course, hit the back-up Toyota Hilux vehicle carrying seven policemen, forcing it off the road, into the bush and rammed into the sports utility vehicle carrying Comrade Oshiomhole, causing substantial damage.
“We are sad to report that two police personnel in the Toyota Hilux truck lost their lives while two others are in critical condition receiving treatment at a hospital in the state.”
He said Mr Oshiomhole and other persons in the convoy did not sustain injuries.
“It is pertinent to state, without fear of contradiction, that the convoy of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was maintaining legal speed limits when this incident occurred. This explains why the trailer, travelling in the same direction overran the Hilux truck off the road and still hit the SUV carrying Comrade Oshiomhole, causing substantial damage.
“Without prejudice to police investigations, eyewitnesses’ account of the incident suggests, and we believe rightly too, that this was an assassination attempt, targeting Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. It is painful that innocent policemen performing their legal duties lost their lives in this very unfortunate incident.”
He said the matter was immediately reported at the Ekiadolor Police Station, and investigations are ongoing.
“Finally we call on the security agencies to do everything possible to unravel the circumstances surrounding this incident, especially because of the threat to the life of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the violence which has been directed towards him and his those around him in recent times,” he added.
Meanwhile, John Mayaki, who heads the Edo APC media team for the campaign, said the party has called off its campaign following the road crash.
He said the campaign suspended the scheduled event, to honour the dead.
“On behalf of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the APC, we condole with the families of the victims. They are not alone in the grief. We pledge that the campaign would do everything within its powers to ameliorate their grief.”
Meanwhile, the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has condoled with his estranged political mentor, Mr Oshiomhole, and the candidate of the APC, Mr Ize-Iyamu, over the road accident.
In a statement, the governor commiserated with the families of the victims of the crash and prayed that God grants them the fortitude to bear the loss of their loved ones.