Government arraigns journalist for alleged terrorism, plot to topple Ayade
After 35 days in police custody, the Federal Government yesterday arraigned the publisher of an online news medium, CrossRiverWatch, Agba Jalingo, before the Federal High Court, Calabar on charges relating to terrorism, treasonable felony and attempt to topple the Governor Ben Ayade administration in Cross River State.
The accused however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His lawyer, Atah Ochinke, had filed a motion for bail but was opposed by the prosecution counsel, Denis Terhemba.
Ruling after consulting with the clerk of the court, Justice Simon Amobeda ordered that Jalingo should be remanded at the Afokang Prison in the state capital before adjourning the case till today.
Commenting, Ochinke described the charges as “Sensational. We have looked at the proof of evidence and we know that they have no base.”
He added: We had an application for him to be admitted to bail; but because of the reaction, the counter affidavit was only brought to the attention of the court today (yesterday). The court graciously granted us to come back tomorrow (today) for argument on the bail application. We hope that by tomorrow (today), the court will give a considered opinion on it and Agba will be admitted to bail.”
On his part, Terhemba said he was not at liberty to discuss the matter with the press, adding: “The fact is that the matter 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.”
The journalist was picked from his Lagos residence by the police command on August 22, 2019, and has remained in detention prior to yesterday’s arraignment.
He had been invited by the force following a petition on an article he wrote concerning Cross River State’s Microfinance Bank and how the said publication had allegedly impacted on the fortunes of the financial institution adversely.