Legal Nigeria

Trial of 20 ex-PTD members over alleged attempted murder begins

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on Wednesday began the trial of 20 former leaders of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) charged with attempted murder.

The former union leaders, including a one-time National Chairman, Lucky Osesua, were arraigned before Justice Yusuf Halilu in the suit, marked: CR/042/202.

They are charged with attempted murder, breach of peace and assault by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

Also charged are Dayyabu Garga, Humble Obinna, Akinolu Olabisi, Godwin Nwaka, Tiamiu Sikiru, Abdulmimin Shaibu and John Amajuoyi.

Others are Zaira Aregbo, Patrick Erhivwor, Stephen Ogheneruemu, Gift Ukponku, Sunday Ezeocha and seven others.

The union members were alleged to have attacked NUPENG President, Wiliams Akporeha; General Secretary, Wale Afolabi and the newly elected National Chairman of the PTD branch of NUPENG, Augustine Egbon.

The NUPENG members were particularly alleged to have acted “in a manner likely to cause the death of one Comrade Wiliams Akporeha and Comrade Augustine Egbon”, when they laid siege at PTD’s office at No. 50 Moses Majekodenmi Crescent, Utako District in Abuja on Nov. 1.

In the suit, the defendants were further accused of voluntarily causing grievous bodily harm to Comrade Williams Akporeha, Comrade Olawale Afolabi, Comrade Solomon Kilanko and Comrade Augustine Egbon.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Earlier, the prosecution counsel David Kaswe told the court that his five witnesses were in court.

The first prosecution witness, Olawale Afolabi who testified as PW1 told the court that he was the general secretary, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG).

Led in evidence by Kaswe, he narrated how the defendants laid siege at the PTD’s office at No. 50 Moses Majekodenmi Crescent, Utako District in Abuja on Nov. 1.

He alleged that he was beaten and left unconscious by the defendants.

”When I gained consciousness the next day, I found myself in Zankli Hospital, Abuja.

“I suffered severe injuries. I was afraid for my life and safety at the hospital. I had to leave for another hospital,” he said.

The witness said he was taken to the police station on Nov. 2, 2023. where he made a statement and was taken to the Police hospital services for further treatment.

Kaswe tendered the hospital reports and patient cards of the two hospitals, as well as that of Emmanuel Eye Care Services and Dental clinic appointment card which were later admitted in evidence.

Also admitted was the petition written to the police on Nov. 2, 2023.

Being cross-examined by the defendants’ counsel, Benson Igbanoi, the witness said he arrived in Abuja for official duty from Lagos, where he resides.

When asked if there was an election a day before he arrived in Abuja, he answered in the affirmative adding there were three elections, in Ibadan, Warri and Port Harcourt and that they have 150 branches.

When asked if he was aware of the National Industrial Court judgment, he said yes.

Answering how he was able to recognise those who attacked him, he said:” that I lost consciousness does not mean I lost my memory ‘

He said he doesn’t remember the name of the doctor who treated him in the hospital.

Meanwhile, Justice Yusuf Halilu adjourned until Oct 10 for continuation of the trial.

He, however, said that the defendants should remain on the bail granted them.

Source: NAN