A member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Mohammed Abubakar has been arraigned before a Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court for wrongfully restraining and assaulting a magistrate.
The Prosecuting Police Officer, Tuesday Ganagana (Sgt), told the court on Monday in Lokoja that Abubakar committed the alleged offence against the Magistrate of Chief Magistrate Court, Koton-Karfe, Mr. Kabiru Iregu, on August 8.
The prosecutor said that Iregu had reported that when he boarded a vehicle from Koton-Karfe to Lokoja on the said date, some men from the NURTW intercepted the vehicle and asked the driver to take the vehicle to their park immediately.
He added that he decided to come down from the vehicle which was apparently arrested for picking passengers on road-side being a non-member of the NURTW; saying, but one of the men later identified as Abubakar ordered him to follow them to the park.
To avoid embarrassment, he said, Iregu entered the vehicle and was driven to the park thereby preventing him from proceeding to Lokoja.
At the park, the prosecution added, the magistrate decided to call his Court Registrar to help intimate the police prosecutor to the court of his predicament but was prevented by the accused.
Ganagana further alleged that Abubakar forcefully collected Iregu’s Nokia Lumia phone valued N80,000 and took it away.
He added that when the prosecutor attached to the court eventually came with policemen to invite the unionists to the police station, Abubakar and his members “violently” resisted arrest.
Counsel to the accused, F.T. Adegoke Esq. made an oral application premised on section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution for the court to grant his client bail, promising that he would neither jump bail nor jeopardise police investigations.
However, Gangana told the court that the case was still under investigation and asked for another date for mention, but left the issue of bail at the discretion of the court.
The Chief Magistrate, Levi Animoku of Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court 1 said, bail is a constitutional right of an accused person “particularly when the case is not capital in nature” more so that the counsel had undertaken to comply with terms of bail if granted.
Animoku therefore granted bail to the accused in the sum of N50,000 and a reliable surety in like sum, adding that the surety must be a civil servant, chairman or secretary of the NURTW in Lokoja with traceable address.
He adjourned the case to September 7, for further hearing.