By Jonathan Ugbal
The federal high court has adjourned hearing on the trial of journalist and rights activist, Agba Jalingo until November 5 and 6th, 2019 for continuation.
Justice Simon Amobeda gave the ruling after hearing arguments from counsels of both parties in the case.
The counsel to the prosecution, Dennis Tarhemba, a Deputy Superintendent of Police had asked the court to adjourn after Mr. Jalingo took his plea.
But, the lead counsel to the defendant, Adeyinka Olumide-fusika, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria had opposed the prosecution’s application and prayed the court to grant Mr. Jalingo bail.
After rising twice on the matter, first for 10 minutes and then later till noon, Justice Amobeda granted the prayer of the prosecution for adjournment and dismissed the prayer for bail by the defense.
In his ruling, Justice Amobeda said that the letter of the prosecution to the Court informing it of his appearance at the Court of Appeal was dispensed of due to his appearance. He held that the prosecution has not unduly asked for adjournment.
On the prayer for bail, the court ruled that the authorities cited by the defense counsel existed before the administration of criminal justice act was signed into law.
Justice Amobeda said the circumstances do not warrant for the granting of bail. He said the adjournment suffered were partly contributed to by the defense and that by provision of the law, the number of adjournments requested for has not been exceeded.
Jalingo is facing charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony and attempt to topple the Cross River State government.
His trial has received widespread condemnation with many pointing fingers at Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State as being the architect behind the journalist’s travails, an allegation his aides have continuously denied.
The Case So Far…
Mr. Jalingo had in July, published an article where he demanded the Cross River State government comes clean on the whereabouts of the NGN500 million approved and released for the floating of the Cross River Microfinance bank.
In August he was invited by the Cross River State Police command for an interview based on a petition against him bordering on his article.
The interview was first slated for August 19, 2019. It was later rescheduled for August 26th and September 3, 2019. Mr. Jalingo went public with his decision to honor the invitation.
However, he was arrested in a gestapo styled operation by Police officers in his Lagos residence on August 22, 2019. He was then driven by road to Calabar, the Cross River capital where he arrived on August 24, 2019.
He was detained for 32 more days at a police black site facility with limited access to him until his arraignment on September 25, 2019 for the hearing of his bail.
The bail hearing suffered adjournments on September 26th and October 2nd. And, on October 4th, the court in its ruling denied granting him bail. The matter was then adjourned until October 16th and 17th for commencement of trial.
But, the trial suffered several adjournments until Wednesday.
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