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Attempted Murder: How I Escaped Death - NUPENG Secretary-General Tells Court

Posted by Samuel on Wed 26th Jun, 2024 - tori.ng

The defendants include; a one-time national chairman, Lucky Osesua, his deputy, Dayyabu Yusuf Garga, Humble Obinna, Akinolu Olabisi, Godwin Nwaka, and Tiamiu Sikiru.

Olawale Afolabi

On Wednesday, June 26, Olawale Afolabi, the General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), recounted a harrowing incident where he narrowly survived an attack by former leaders of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of NUPENG.

Afolabi spoke while testifying before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Maitama at the commencement of trial in the attempted murder case involving the ex-leaders of the leaders of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD).

The defendants include; a one-time national chairman, Lucky Osesua, his deputy, Dayyabu Yusuf Garga, Humble Obinna, Akinolu Olabisi, Godwin Nwaka, and Tiamiu Sikiru,

The rest are Abdulmimin Shaibu, John Amajuoyi, Zaira Aregbo, Patrick Erhivwor, Stephen Ogheneruemu, Gift Ukponku, and Sunday Ezeocha and seven others.

They were in the suit, marked: CR/042/202, were alleged to have attacked the National President of NUPENG, Comrade Williams Akporeha, General Secretary, Wale Afolabi, and the newly elected National Chairman of the PTD-NUPENG, Augustine Egbon.

They pleaded guilty to the charge and were remanded in prison custody until they perfected their bail.

Led in evidence by prosecuting lawyer, David Kaswe, Afolabi (who is the first prosecution witness) told the court how the defendants descended on him, beat him, and left him to die.

He described the incident, which occurred on November 1, 2023, as the “most awful and horrible day” in his life, adding that it was the day he almost died as a result of the attack carried out on him by the defendants.

Afolabi recalled how he and the National President of NUPENG and two others had arrived at the headquarters of the union at 50 Majekodunmi Crescent, Utarko, Abuja on that fateful day for their lawful duties.

He said unknowingly to them, the defendants had laid siege inside the premises and pounced on him immediately he had used the pedestrian gate to gain access into the building since the main gate was not opened by the security guard.

“Lucky came to me, grabbed my throat, trying to strangulate me. Obinna came and gave me a blow and Sikiru Tiamiu gave me another blow and I became dizzy”, he said.

The witness said when the beating was much and he was about to die, Lucky shouted at the others “Don’t kill him here,” while Gaga said, “Pull him out, it is not supposed to be here “at the point he was dragged out of the union’s premises and further beaten outside until he lost consciousness.

”When I regained 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.

Afolabi added that he was later taken to the police station on November 2, 2023, where he made a statement and was taken to the Police hospital services for further treatment.

Kaswe subsequently tendered the hospital reports and patient cards of the two hospitals.

The lawyer also tendered documents from a healthcare facility named: Emmanuel Eye Care Services and Dental Clinic, which were all admitted in evidence by the court.

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

Under cross-examination by a lawyer of the defendants, Benson Igbanoi, Afolabi said he could not remember the number of statements he made to the police.

He admitted not mentioning the names of his attackers in his statement to the police, even though he gave their names while testifying earlier in court.

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.

Also, when asked how he was able to recognise those whom he said attacked him, the witness submitted” that I lost consciousness does not mean I lost my memory ‘

The witness stated that he did not know the name of the doctor who treated him in the hospital.

After the witness’ testimony, Justice Halilu Halilu adjourned till October 10 for the continuation of the trial.

The defendants reportedly attacked the NUPENG President and General Secretary when they accompanied the new PTD national chairman, Augustine Egbon, and other members of his executive to the national secretariat of the union in Abuja, at the end of a Special Delegates Conference for the PTD Branch of NUPENG held in Ibadan, where Egbon and others emerged as national officers of PTD-NUPENG.

The fresh election was a sequel to the judgment of Justice Bashar Alkali of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Yenagoa Judicial Division, Bayelsa State, which nullified the PTD Branch of NUPENG election held on June 30, 2O22 in Ibadan.

The defendants are alleged to have acted, “in a manner likely to cause the death of one Comrade Wiliams Akporeha and Comrade Augustine Egbon”, an offence punishable under Section 229 of the Penal Code Act, 2004.

They are also accused of voluntarily causing grievous bodily harm to Comrade Williams Akporeha, Comrade Olawale Afolabi, Comrade Solomon Kilanko, and Comrade Augustine Egbon.

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