By Jonathan Ugbal
A Federal High Court sitting in Calabar and presided over by Justice Simon Amobeda has set Friday, October 4, 2019 for it’s ruling on the bail application for journalist and rights activists, Mr. Agba Jalingo who is facing trial for alleged treason, terrorism and attempt to topple the Cross River State Government.
The Court will also rule on the preliminary objection on the bail application filed by the Prosecution Counsel, Mr. Dennis Tarhemba.
In his argument, the Counsel to Jalingo, Mr. Attah Ochinke relied on the motion, the further affidavit filed and section 161 sub section 2 of the Administration of Criminal Justice act.
Jalingo who was decked in a Tee shirt with the inscription “Every Free Society Has A Journalist” is to be remanded in Prison custody till the next Court date.
Meanwhile, Tarhemba while reacting to the Court proceedings, averred that: “What was done today is just argument of both Counsel as to the bail of the defendant and the matter has been adjourned to the fourth day of this month.”
When pressed if he was satisfied with the legal proceedings so far, he said that: “What I have done today is part of my legal practice which I have done. I am not empowered to judge what have been done, it is left to the Court.”
One of Jalingo’s Counsel, Mr. James Ibor told journalists that he was happy with the proceedings of the day.
“I am very impressed that finally the Court has taken our application for bail. We can only be hopeful that it will go on our way,” Ibor said and posited that, “The issue of bail is at the discretion of Court. So, if it doesn’t go in our favor, there is no cause for alarm. We will go ahead with the hearing.”
Jalingo was arrested in his Lagos residence by men attached to the Intelligence Response Team of the Nigerian Police on August 22, 2019; a few days to the rescheduled interview date in respect to a petition bothering on his article which sought the whereabouts of the NGN500 million only approved and released for the floating of the Cross River State Microfinance bank.
He spent 34 days in Police detention and was arraigned on September 25, 2019 where he pleaded not guilty to the four charges preferred against him. He was remanded in Prison custody.
The Cross River State Government was fingered as the mastermind of his ordeal, an allegation the State denied.
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