Court discharges Agba Jalingo from terrorism, treason charges
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Calabar has, on Monday, discharged journalist/activist, Agba Jalingo from a criminal suit accusing him of acts of terrorism, treasonable felony and cyber crimes.
The charges preferred against Jalingo were amended several times during the trial with the defendant taking four pleas during the duration of the trial.
Twice he took plea under Justice Amobeda and twice under Justice Shuiabu and Justice Ojukwu respectively.
It could be recalled that Jalingo was admitted to bail in 2020 after spending 179 days in incarceration.
The decision followed the withdrawal of the charges filed against him by the Cross River State Government after it took over the prosecution from the federal government in February 2020.
The Director of Public Prosecution in the State, John Ogban Esq. had told the court at the resumed hearing that he was directed by the Attorney General, Tanko Ashang to discontinue the case.
Ogban said they had filed a further amended charge before now, but made a verbal application for the withdrawal of the case.
When asked if he was withdrawing totally and will no longer prosecute the charge, Ogban answered in the affirmative.
The defense, led by Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria did not object to the verbal application and commended the directive.
“We commend the Honorable Attorney General of the State for taking this decision.
“We are happy that our harassment has ended,” Olumide-Fusika who was accompanied by F. Baba Isa and Kehole Enya said.
He further prayed the court to release the sum paid as the bail bond into an interest yielding account by the defendant.
The matter was then stood down for the Court to verify the payment date among others items.
Upon resumption, Justice Ojukwu, relying on the provisions of section 355 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, acquitted Jalingo on all four charges.
On the application for the refund, the court held that the sum and the interest should be paid to him.
The development brought the case to its end.
Meanwhile, the federal and State governments could not provide a single witness in the 30 months the trial lasted, despite an initial order to mask witnesses.