A Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu has discharged and acquitted Nigerian journalist and activist, Mr. Agba Jalingo, on charges of alleged treasonable felony, terrorism, and cybercrime brought against him by the Cross River State government.
The trial of Jalingo, who was arrested on August 22, 2019, lasted 30 months after he was arrested because he had alleged in a publication that N500 million belonging to the state was diverted.
Justice Ojukwu, while relying on the provisions of section 355 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, acquitted Jalingo, on all four-count charges and also dismissed the charges.
Cross River State had taken over prosecution from the federal government in February 2020 after he was admitted to bail having spent 179 days in incarceration.
The State Director of Public Prosecution, John Ogban Esq. informed the court at the resumed hearing that he received the directives of the Attorney General, Tanko Ashang to discontinue the case.
Ogban made a verbal application for the withdrawal of the case and when asked if he was withdrawing totally and will no longer prosecute the charge, responded in the affirmative.
The defence, 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 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.
And, upon resumption, Justice Ojukwu while relying on the provisions of section 355 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, acquitted the Jalingo on all four charges and dismissed them.
On the application for the refund, the court held that the sum and the interest should be paid to him.