Great thanks to the Nigerian justice system. The information we have is that she was drunk at the time of the road crash. As such, it was premeditated murder not accident. Besides, this seeming controversy, it is unfortunate that while the case was going on, instead of her exhibiting some sense of remorse, she was all over the place attending one social function or the other, visiting America etc and exhibiting such on the social media.
I can imagine how the family of the man she killed would have felt while struggling with resources on how to survive because of the loss of a bread winner. Let us remove unnecessary sentiments from this issue, Ibinabo has not conducted herself well after the crash, perhaps thinking that the likely influenced judgement at the magistrate court will be upheld at the upper courts.
Very big stars in America or Europe are not spared when they run into similar offences, they get imprisoned and it serves well for the society that none is above the law. Ibinabo was not sentenced to death or life time. Five years imprisonment is fair because in Nigeria’s constitution, it is a minimum of seven years that ought to stay in the gulag. Her imprisonment is a victory for the FRSC, road victims and all well meaning cum innocent road users in Nigeria.
Her stay in prison will reform her and send the right message to the Nigerian public on how to use the road in a safe manner. When she comes out of prison, she will be a better road user and may work for road safety improvement as a worthy ambassador in her status a celebrity. For now, let her conduct herself properly in prison, write articles on road safety and offer assistance to the family of the deceased, perhaps in less than three years, NGOs walking for road safety in Nigeria may seek mercy for her release.
As a star, she can help change the face of road safety in Nigeria. On the converse, as a Christian, I believe that her misconduct is highly forgivable but we cannot exclude the deceased family and the FRSC from this conversation. The right way to go is for her supporters to seek the involvement of a credible NGO to stand in the gap for her in a very humble manner and obtain pledges from Ibinabo and company that the direct dependants of the killed man will not suffer unnecessary hardship.
It is really not appropriate for her colleagues to be all over the social media asking for mercy which may even be misconstrued as impunity because most of them are also guilty of similar misconduct. Indeed, road safety NGOs can plead with the court that Ibinabo’s conviction is commuted to community service on road safety for ten years but where she defaults, she goes back to jail. The truth is that she has a big role to play for road safety that could help save thousands of lives and improve our driving culture.
After all, there will not be any real gain for the deceased family if Ibinabo is thrust into prison because Nigeria does not have any welfare package for road crash victims’ families. It is a deep psychological and financial wound that can be partially healed through proper articulation than the noisy manner it is being handled. Let Ibinabo seek an NGO that can help make positive contributions on her matter, build a bridge with the dead man’s family. assign her the task of championing, Don’t Drink and drive initiative, then stand ready to guarantee her future conduct on the roads. Ibinabo deserves a second chance, please!
By Angela Nwokolo
Women go for Safety Initiative