HELP: My Prosecutor Is Playing With My Emotions BY AGBA JALINGO

In Breaking News, Columnists, Opinion

Today is July 26, 2021. The trial in Suit FHC/CA/59C/2019 between FRN and AGBA JALINGO, is scheduled to resume at the Federal High Court 1, along Murtala Mohammed Highway in Calabar, before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu. The court gave 26, 27, 28 July, for accelerated hearing. As usual, the State government, which has taken over the prosecution of the matter from the Federal Government, has found another reason to ask the court for adjournment of the matter till October 2021.

One thing I want to make clear to the general public is that, from the first day I was arrested, I was ready for my day in court. And since the day I was arraigned in court, I have attended all my court sittings, both while I was still in jail and since I was granted bail, without failing. And I am ready and in good health and in a good state of mind to attend the rest, just like I am already in Calabar for the scheduled trial.

I know the enormity of my charges. The charges against me are even higher than those against Nnamdi Kanu. Treasonable Felony, Terrorism, Cultism and Attempt To Overthrow Buhari and Governor Ayade. This is no joke because I am before a federal judge. If he/she gets upset and pronounces me guilty of any of those charges, I will not return home to my family. That’s how bad it is. So no one should play with my emotions. My prosecutor should not.

I did not beg to be arrested. I did not take myself to court. I did not force anyone to put me through what I went through. I was beaten, I was chained for weeks, I was locked in a car trunk for more than two dozen hours, I passed waste on my body, I was falsely charged and thrown in jail. The court has barred me from traveling out of the country. I became the first Nigerian that a court ever granted leave for secret trial and allowed masked witnesses to appear against me. All within six months, for doing absolutely nothing, other than my work as a journalist.

Whoever took me to court should have the balls to prosecute me and either get me punished for the alleged crimes or remove this darkness from my horizon. They must be an end to litigation. Even the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), prescribes how long every criminal trial should last. Trial cannot go on ad infinitum. And I want to be free and free indeed.

I am not a terrorist. If I were, government would have long negotiated with me and given me money. I am not a treasonable felonist. I am not even sure I know what that means. But the little I know about people that were accused of that crime is that, they all became national heroes in the later days of their lives. I am not a cultist, because I think I am a cult to myself. I cannot overthrow anyone either, because I am a prince, I have my throne.

I know from the deepest recess of my heart that I did not commit any offence. Governor Ayade simply wanted to lock me up and deal with me, to teach me a lesson and make me grovel before him and beg him for doing my work as a journalist. And I say that, I CANNOT. If I had done a wrong, I won’t even wait to be arrested. I will call the entire Bedia kindred and go to genuflect before him. But he failed woefully in his attempt to humiliate me and I think it is only left for him to accept that he took the wrong steps. Let him save himself also of this burden. If he doesn’t understand yet, let me inform him that, it is my arrest and detention that actually exposed his chicanery to the world and consequently became the beginning of his public relations’ devil’s stroke. It will remain like that until he clears the cobwebs.

He won’t be there forever. I will continue to remind him. He had 2922 days to be governor. He has spent 2250 days. The remaining 672 days shouldn’t seem so long.

Agba Jalingo, a journalist and rights activist is a Cross Riverian and writes in from Calabar.

NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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