Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Trail of C'River Journalist charged with treason to commence Wednesday

Agba Jalingo in Court during the pretrial 

Jonathan Ugbal | 15th October 2019 

The trial of Nigerian rights activist and journalist, Agba Jalingo who was charged with treasonable felony, terrorism and attempt to topple the Cross River State government is expected to commence on Wednesday.

Mr. Jalingo was arrested in his Lagos residence on August 22, 2019 and was driven to Calabar by road where he was detained in a black site facility.

Reports of his ill health had sparked outrage and he was eventually arraigned at the Federal High Court 2 in Calabar after 34 days in custody on September 25, 2019 for the pre trial hearing of his bail application.

The presiding Judge, Justice Simon Amobeda after two more Court dates on September 26th and October 2nd, rejected the motion to admit him to bail on October 4, 2019. In his ruling, Justice Amobeda had said that Jalingo's lawyers had failed to provide sufficient evidence about his failing health.

He was remanded in Prison custody where he has spent 20 days in custody since September 25th.

Justice Amobeda had in his ruling, dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the prosecution to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to hear Mr. Jalingo's bail application and ordered accelerated hearing for October 16th and 17th.

Mixed reactions have continued to greet Mr. Jalingo's arrest and incarceration with many pressure groups accusing the Cross River State government for his travails, an allegation, the State has continued to deny.

He had in an article published in July questioned the whereabouts of the 500 million Naira approved and released for the for the floating off the Cross River Microfinance Bank.

The Police command in Cross River State had in a letter dated August 14, 2019 titled; "Conspiracy To Cause Breach Of Public Peace" and signed by Mrs. Tami Peterside, a Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Investigation Department invited Jalingo to report to her on August 19, 2019 at 2:00PM for an interview.

The letter was delivered by the Investigating Police Officer, Mr. Benjamin Ajala, a Deputy Superintendent of Police. 

And, Mr. Jalingo had in a post on Facebook, disclosed that the interview had been rescheduled for August 26, 2019. He was arrested four days before the due date. 

However, a former Attorney General of Cross River State and Justice Commissioner, Mr. Eyo Ekpo had in a Facebook post said Mr. Jalingo had duly informed him that the interview was rescheduled for September 3, 2019 as DCP Peterside had traveled for an official assignment.