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Trial of 20 former NUPENG leaders for attempted murder set for June 26

The union members were alleged to have attacked NUPENG President, General Secretary, and the newly elected National Chairman of the PTD branch of NUPENG.

Trial of 20 former NUPENG leaders for attempted murder set for June 26

The former union leaders, including a one-time National Chairman, Lucky Osesua, were charged before Justice Yusuf Halilu 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.

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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 November 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.

At the resumed hearing of the matter, the prosecution counsel D. Kaswe told the court that he was taking over the prosecution of the case from Frank Longe who was handling it earlier.

He told the court that he is not comfortable with the number of defendants and is working towards splitting the charge. Kaswe added that he has studied the file and allied with the former counsel on the revocation of the defendant's bail.

Responding to the prosecution, the defendant’s counsel Christopher Oshomegie, SAN wondered why the prosecution was interested in the revocation of the defendant’s bail.

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"Why are they interested in putting these people (defendants) in jail rather than prosecuting this matter.

"The defendants were required to attend court which they have not failed. The prosecution have not brought any witness to prove their allegations ” he said.

Frank Longe had earlier sought the revocation of the defendants ‘ bail which the court was to deliver the ruling today. The judge apologised saying though he had written the ruling, he forgot it on his table as he was hurrying out.

Justice Halilu adjourned until June 26 for definite commencement of trial. Halilu granted the new prosecution counsel, Kaswe time to go through the file, adding no "matter where the defendants maybe the interest is to focus on the prosecution of the case."

He added that bail is a contractual agreement between the court and the defendants and warned the defendants to avoid doing anything that might cause revocation of their bail.

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Longe (former prosecution counsel) on March 13 told the court that the prosecution filed a motion on March 1. The motion is marked M/4807/24 praying the court for the bail of the defendants to be revoked and a restraining order issued.

He added that the defendants are threatening the lives of the prosecution witnesses and their family members. Longe claimed, that until it is stopped, the case can not go on and therefore pleaded with the court to do the needful.

Responding, the defence counsel, Christopher Oshomegie, SAN, told the court that his clients have never departed f from what the court ordered them when bail was granted.

He added that the names, and places of alleged people being threatened were not given by the prosecution. Oshomegie argued that the prosecution had not shown any documents on the threat.

"He is asking the court to take away the liberty of these men without giving the materials to do so."

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Longe informed the court that the defendants were still going about to cause trouble even though they were on bail. The defence counsel, Christopher Oshomegie, SAN, denied the allegations and argued that his clients were gentlemen who would never engage in such criminal acts.

He, however, urged court to protect the defendants from those he described as "power mongers."

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