Justice Simon Amobeda of the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, on Wednesday ruled that journalist and activist, Agba Jalingo, of Cross River Watch, be remanded in prison.
Jalingo who had spent 33 days in police detention was arraigned after being charged for terrorism, treasonable felony and attempt to topple the Cross River State government.
The Presiding Judge said he had no time to look at the bail document. He said that the counter affidavit by the prosecution filed in response to the motion for bail by the defendant’s counsel was added to the file on Wednesday morning and that he had not had time to look at it. He said that he perused the file on Tuesday night and did not see the counter affidavit.
The prosecution counsel, Mr. Denis Terhemba, a Deputy Superintendent of Police claimed the counter affidavit was filed on September 18, 2019 but Jalingo’s counsel, Mr. Attah Ochinke said he was served shortly before the court began sitting.
However, after a brief discussion with the Clerk of the Court who whispered a few words to him, Justice Amobeda ruled that Jalingo be remanded at the Afokang prison in Calabar. He adjourned the case to Thursday, September 26, 2019.
Jalingo was arrested in his Lagos residence on August 22, 2019, following an invitation by the Police Command in Cross River State over a petition that an article he wrote on the State’s Microfinance bank had affected its business negatively.
Jalingo had, in the article, queried the whereabouts of the N500 million approved and released by the Cross River State government for the floating of the bank.
Reacting to the ruling of the court, Mr. Ochinke who described the charges as “sensational,” also averred “we have looked at the proof of evidence and we know that they have no base.
“We had an application for him to be admitted in to bail, but because the counter affidavit was only brought to the attention of the Court today, the Court graciously granted us to come back tomorrow for the argument on the application of the bail.
“We hope that by tomorrow, the court will give a considered opinion on it and Agba will be admitted to bail.”
The prosecution counsel, Mr. Denis Terhemba, a Deputy Superintendent of Police said he was not at liberty to discuss the matter with the press;
“The fact is that the matter as it is, is a matter that is before the Federal High Court 2 here in Calabar.
The fact and whatever transpired in Court, I cannot reveal to you unless you go to the registrar of the Court, get the details from the registrar and he will give you exactly what transpired in Court,” Terhemba said.