NURTW/RTEAN clash: Court remands 22 suspects

An Iyaganku Chief Magistrates Court, on Tuesday, ordered the remand of 22 suspects who were involved in July 8 clash between the two transport unions in Ibadan.

The 22 accused persons were to remain in the police custody at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Iyaganku, pending the duplication of their case before the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The suspects, who all pleaded not guilty in court when arraigned on Monday, were Modasiru Moraina; Sikiru Olaiwola; Oyebanji Kabiru; Alade Busari; Lateef Afeez; Safiu Abass; Tunde Saka, 21; Mumini Ganiyu, 40; Ahmed Moshood, 25; Aminu Saibu, 37; Tunde Ajayi, 23; Lukmon Rasheed, 31; Abudulahi Olode, 35; Yekini Aliu, 26; Akibu Kazeem, 40 and Muideen Anifowose, 27; before the magistrate on a six-count charge.

Others arraigned were Mustapha Ogunjide, Oladipo Sakiru, Sunday Aromolaran, Peter Adekunle, Adesina Alaba and Raheem Musa, were also among those arraigned.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs A. F. Richard, gave the order in a case of conspiracy, attempted murder, unlawful possession of criminal charms and acts in a disorderly manner preferred against them.

The magistrate said that the jurisdiction of the court did not extend to hearing of criminal offences that carry life imprisonment or death. She added that such offences were within the exclusive right of the high court and overruled the application for bail by the defence counsel.

According to the magistrate, “The application of the defence counsel to dismiss the charges based on the fact that they are defective is immaterial and the provisions have been complied with.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Oyo State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde, a.k.a. Fele, has said that none of his members was among the 22 suspects who appeared in court on Monday after the crisis between NURTW and members of the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) Oyo State chapter last weekend in Ibadan.

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune on Tuesday, Oyerinde who is also the South West chairman of the body, declared that NURTW has been in the vanguard of maintaining peace in the state in the last five years and will continue in that direction.

Counsel to the defendants asked the court to strike out all counts, including the one of attempted murder, saying that it lacked competence and failed to comply with statutory provisions. They also urged the court to admit the accused persons to bail, saying that court had jurisdiction to take their plea on the attempted murder charge and also grant them bail appropriately.

The prosecutor, Mr M. A. Ojeah, however, said that the jurisdiction of the court did not extend to criminal offences that carry life imprisonment, so the plea on attempted murder could not be taken before the court.

Ojeah alleged that the defendants on July 8 had in their possession cutlass, knives and broken bottles with intent to intimidate members of the public without lawful cause.

According to him, the offences contradicted Sections 80, 86, 213 and 249 (d) of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Vol. II Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000.