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NURTW/RTEAN crisis: Court reserves ruling on bail till today

The suspects at Court 2, Magistrates’ Court, Iyaganku, Ibadan, on Monday. PHOTO: ALOLADE GANIYU

Mr A F Richard of Magistrate Court, Iyaganku, Ibadan, on Monday stalled ruling on plea, jurisdiction and bail, on a six-count charge involving 22 suspects, involved in the National Union of Road Transport Workers Union(NURTW) and Road Transport Employess Association of Nigeria(RTEAN), crisis in Ibadan last week.

The 22 suspects, facing six count charges in suit number MI/1046/2016, were arrested during a crisis involving members of the NURTW and RTEAN in several locations in Ibadan, last Friday.

The suspects are Mudasiru Muraina, Sikiru Olaiwola, Oyebanji Kabiru, Alade Busari, Lateef Afeez, Safiu Abass, Tunde Saka, Mumini Ganiyu, Ahmed Moshood, Aminu Sabiu and Tunde Ajayi.

Others are Lukumon Rasheed, Abdulahi Olode, Yekini Aliu, Akibu Kazeem, Muideen Anifowose, Mustapha Ogunjide, Oladipo Sakiru, Sunday Aromolaran, Peter Adekunle, Adesina Alaba and Raheem Musa.

According to the charge sheets, “on the 8th day of July, at the Ibadan maigisterial district, the accused conspired to commit felony to wit: attempted murder, unlawful possession of criminal charms, threatening violence and conducts likely to cause breach of peace and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 516 of the criminal code cap 38 vol. II Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000.

“That on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district, did attempt to kill one Kazem Oguntolu, 42, by matcheting him with a cutlass and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 320 of the criminal code cap 38 vol. II Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000.

“That on the same day, time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district, did have in your possession criminal charms without lawful and reasonable excuse and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 213 of the criminal code cap 38 Vol II Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000; that on the same date, time and place aforementioned Magisterial district, the accused  with intent to intimidate members of the public did arm yourselves with dangerous weapons like cutlasses, knives, broken bottles and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 86 of the criminal code cap 38 vol. II Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000.”

For count five and six, “on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district did arm yourselves with dangerous weapons like cutlass, knives, broken bottle without lawful occasion thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 80 of the criminal code cap 38 Vol. II Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria” and that they conduct themselves “in a manner likely to cause breach of peace by going armed in the public and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 249 (d) of the criminal code cap 38 vol. II Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000.”

Counsels for the defendants, in their various submissions posited that the magistrate lacked jusridiction to entertain first and second count charges, appealing to the court to take their plea and refered the case to a higher court in the state.

In his submission, Adejumo said “the suspects are presumed innocent, urging the court to take their plea of their charges in count one and two, and granted them bail.

Adejumo also pointed out that the six-count charges against the suspects are “fundamentally defective and unknown to to law.”

He noted that the charges failed to display the time and place where the alleged offence were committed.

Another counsel, Ganiyu Babalola and Ifeoluwa Adigun, who appeared for the first and sixth defendants said the suspects were picked at different times and locations, adding that the charge is just “ploy to punish innocent people, thereby urged the court to exercise discretion.”

However, Investigating Police Officer (IPO), M.A. Ojeah urged the court to resist bail, arguing that the punishment attached to the second count charge was life imprisonment.

He also added that since the defence counsel argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to try them, then, only High Court judges had the power to grant them bail.

After listening to submissions of the counsels,  Magistrate Richard said ruling on jurisdiction and bail would be delivered today.

The suspects were, however, remanded at Iyaganku, till today.