Comrade Afolabi Olawale Olufemi, General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), described his trauma on Wednesday at the hands of certain former leaders of NUPENG’s Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) chapter.

He provided the information at the start of the defendants’ trial before Justice Yusuf Halilu of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

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The defendants include former National Chairman Lucky Osesua, his deputy Mr. Dayyabu Yusuf Garga, Humble Obinna, Akinolu Olabisi, Godwin Nwaka, and Tiamiu Sikiru.

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

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

They plead guilty to the crime and were imprisoned until they could complete their bond.

Although the police who first brought the charge against them began to pursue the case, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Justice took over the case.

At the resumed trial on Wednesday, the federal government’s lawyer, Mr David Kaswe, led the NUPENG scribe, who is the First Prosecution Witness (PW1), in giving testimony and presenting various materials essential to support the claims against the defendants.

Testifying, the witness who informed the judge how the defendants had descended on him and “left to die”, described the events of November 1, 2023, as the “most awful and horrible day” in his life because it was the day he almost died as a result of the attacks carried out on him by the defendants.
He recalled how he and the National President of NUPENG and two others had arrived the headquarters of the union at Utako, 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 strangle me, Obinna came and gave me a blow, and Sikiru Tiamiu gave me another blow, and I became dizzy, “he said.

He stated that as he was severely beaten and ready to die, Lucky yelled at the others, “Don’t kill him here.” At the same time, Garga screamed, “Pull him out, it is not supposed to be here,” and he was taken out of the union’s premises and pummeled outside until he lost consciousness.

“When I regained consciousness the next day, I was in Zankli Hospital in Abuja.”I sustained serious injuries. I was concerned for my life and safety at the hospital. “I had to leave for another hospital,” he explained.

The witness stated that on November 2, 2023, he was transported to the police station, where he provided a statement before being transferred to the Police Hospital Services for further treatment.

Kaswe tendered the hospital reports and patient’s cards of the two hospitals, also that of Emmanuel Eye Care services and Dental clinic appointment card which were later admitted in evidence, together with the petition written to the police on November 2, 2023.
However, under cross-examination by the defendant’s counsel, Benson Igbanoi, the witness could not remember the number of statements he made to the police.
During his evidence he had mentioned the names of those who had attacked him on November 1, 2023, however, he admitted not mentioning them in his statement.
When asked if there was election a day before he arrived Abuja, he answered in the affirmative adding that, there were three elections, in Ibadan, Warri and Port Harcourt and that they have 150 branches of the union across the country.
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, however, stated that he doesn’t know the name of the doctor who treated him in the hospital.
Meanwhile, Justice Yusuf Halilu adjourned until October 10, 2024, for the continuation of the trial.
Some of the counts, in the charge marked: CR/042/2023 reads: That you Lucky Osesua, Humble Obinna, Dayyabu Yusuf Garga, Akinolu Olabisi, Godwin Nwaka, Tiamiu Sikiru, Abdulmumin Shaibu, John Amajuoyi, Zaira Aregbo, Patrick Erhivwor, Stephen Ogheneruemu, Gift Ukponku and Sunday Ezeocha on the 1st of November, 2023, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, with intent to cause a breach of peace, laid siege at the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) office at No. 50 Moses Majekodenmi Crescent , Utako District against one Comrade Williams Akporeha, Comrade Olawale Afolabi, Comrade Solomon Kilanko & Comrade Augustine Egbon and you thereby commit an offence punishable under Section 114 of the Penal Code Act, 2004.
In count three, they were alleged to have acted, “in a manner likely to cause the death of one Comrade Wiliams Akporeha & Comrade Augustine Egbon”, an offence punishable under Section 229 of the Penal Code Act, 2004.
Also in count four they were accused of voluntarily causing grievous bodily harm to Comrade Williams Akporeha, Comrade Olawale Afolabi, Comrade Solomon Kilanko & Comrade Augustine Egbon.
The defendants were alleged to have attacked the NUPENG President and General Secretary when they had accompanied the new PTD National Chairman, 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 the NUPENG election held on June 30, 2O22 in Ibadan.