Court Adjourns Agba Jalingo’s Terrorism, Treasonable Felony Trial To February 2022

In Breaking News, Civic Space, International News

By Jonathan Ugbal

The criminal trial of Nigerian journalist and rights activist, Agba Jalingo, for alleged acts of terrorism and treasonable felony over an article he wrote in July 2019 has been adjourned until February 2022 for hearing.

At the resumption of hearing on the matter on Thursday before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Calabar division of the Federal High Court, counsel to Mr. Jalingo, James Ibor Esq informed the court of a letter which said Jalingo will not be available for trial.

“We regret to inform you that the defendant who resides in Lagos will not be able to attend court on the next adjourned date as a result of his inability to find any flight from Lagos to Calabar,” read the letter dated October 24, 2021.

Ibor said that Jalingo’s flight to Calabar with Air Peace, billed for November 23, 2021 was cancelled and “all efforts to book another flight was abortive as all seats for 24th day of November 2021, in Aero, Air Peace and Ibom Air are all sold out.”

The prosecution, led by the Cross River State Director of Public Prosecution did not object and both parties mutually accepted February 9th and 10th 2022 for the defendant to take a plea in amended charges and possible hearing.

Four charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, cultism and attempts to overthrow the Cross River State government were preferred on Mr. Jalingo by the Federal Government after a gestapo styled arrest at his Lagos residence on August 22, 2019 despite repeated public commitments that he will honor the invitation of the Nigerian Police scheduled for September 2019.

He spent 34 days in Police custody and was arraigned before Justice Simon Amobeda who presided over Court 2 of the Calabar division of the Federal High Court. He was denied bail twice by Justice Amobeda who also recused himself twice from the case before handing over to Justice Sule Shuaibu who admitted him to bail after 179 days of incarceration.

The charges were subsequently amended with cultism thrown out. And, the Cross River State government took over prosecution from the Federal Government ending speculations that it was behind the journalist’s ordeal as the petition against him bordered on the article where he queried the whereabouts of the NGN500 million approved and released for the floating of the Cross River Microfinance Bank.

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