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Trial of Nigerian journalist charged with treason again stalls in Calabar

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The trial of human rights activist and journalist, Agba Jalingo, has again been stalled at the Federal High Court in Calabar, Cross River State.

When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, it was adjourned at the instance of the prosecution counsel, Dennis Tarhemba, who had asked for permission to amend their charges and also to hide the identities of their witnesses, which was granted and the matter adjourned to yesterday.

But he asked the court to take a ‘short date’ yesterday to enable him to file his written response to the issues raised by the defendants in their counter affidavit to his motion to amend the charges.

Four charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, cultism and attempt to topple the Cross River State government were preferred against Jalingo.

Tarhemba, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) told the court that the process filed by the defendant was served on him less than an hour before the court resumed sitting on the matter and that he needed time to file his response.

Lead counsel to the defendant, Attah Ochinke, argued that the prosecution was in the habit of serving his processes filed hours before the Court sits, which forced him to file his response yesterday morning just as the presiding judge, Justice Simon Amobeda had ordered on Wednesday.

Justice Amobeda had to adjourn the matter to October 22 and 23, 2019 for commencement of trial at the instance of the prosecution.

Commenting on the application by the prosecutor to amend their charges and for the witnesses to be given protective cover, Ochinke said, “Nobody is being threatened.

“The defendant does not even have capacity to threaten anybody. We believe that there is sufficient force in the prosecution to protect all their witnesses. Nobody is being threatened.”


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