Agba Jalingo, a Nigerian journalist on trial for treason, has been granted bail by the court, after spending 174 days in detention in both the police cell and Calabar prison.
Mr Jalingo, the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, was arrested on August 22, 2019, over a report alleging that Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, diverted N500 million belonging to the state.
Today, Mr Jalingo arrived the court at 9:36 a.m., wearing orange shirt with the inscription #IAmAgbaJalingo, blue jeans, and blue fez cap with the same inscription.
Justice Sule Shuaibu of the Federal High Court, Calabar, on Thursday granted the journalist N10 million bail, following an application from his lawyer, Attah Ochinke.
The court asked that those standing as surety for the journalist must make a refundable deposit of N700,000 to court registry to perfect the bail.
Mr Jalingo was earlier denied bail twice by another judge, Simon Amobeda, who recently withdrew from the case after a secret recording where he (Amobeda) allegedly made some “biased” remarks against Mr Jalingo, was leaked to the press late last year.
Mr Amobeda is also a judge of the Federal High Court, Calabar.
Mr Jalingo’s case is prosecuted by the Cross River government which took over the case from the police. On the prosecution team were led the Attorney General of Cross River state, Tanko Ashang, and the Director of Public Prosecution in the state’s Ministry of Justice, Greg Okem.
Apart from Mr Ochinke, James Ibor appeared in court for the journalist.
AMCON Takes Over Buba Galadima’s Residence, Company Over N900m Debt
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has ordered the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to take over the residence of a former chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Buba Galadima, as well as business and assets of Bedko Nigeria Limited.
Galadima is one of the nine signatories that signed the merger agreement between some political parties, including the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); Congress for Progressive Change (CPC); All Nigeria’s Peoples Party (ANPP) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), to form the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Bedko Nigeria Limited and Alhaji Galadima owe AMCON nearly N900 million.
The loan was obtained during the first phase of Eligible Bank Assets purchase from Unity Bank Plc in 2011.
Since then, AMCON has offered the obligor a measure of olive branches and explored all avenues to resolve the matter amicably, but the obligor and his company, Bedko Nigeria Limited, have remained recalcitrant and unwilling to repay the debt.
The order, which was granted to AMCON by Justice A.I. Chikere gave the government recovery agency the power to take over some properties belonging to the politician. Among them are No. 15, Addis Ababa Crescent, Wuse Zone 4, FCT, Abuja and No. 4, Bangui Street, Wuse 2, also in the high-brow area of Abuja.
The enforcement on the properties of Bedko Nigeria Limited and Alhaji Galadima is one of the many others that would happen this year, given the additional powers AMCON received from President Buhari late last year.
BREAKING: Supreme Court Dismisses Lyon And APC’s Application, Upholds Diri As Bayelsa Gov
The Supreme Court has dismissed an application for review of the judgment which sacked the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa state, David Lyon and his deputy, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.
According to Justice Amina Augie who read the judgment on Wednesday, the application lacked merit and the decisions of the court are final.
She added that the applicants failed to point out errors, stating that the judgment is final for all ages.
The apex court judge said the judgment is final in the ‘real sense’ and no court on earth can review the judgment.
“There must be an end to litigation even if we review this judgment, every disaffected litigant will bring similar applications and the finality of Supreme Court judgments will be lost.”
She added that the applications are frivolous and vexatious, and awarded the cost of N10 million against the applicants to be personally paid by their counsel.
Justice Augie added that the counsels of the APC and Mr Lyon are to each pay Governor Douye Diri, his deputy Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo and the PDP the same N10 million.
SERAP Condemns Bill Seeking Immunity For Lawmakers
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the passing of a bill seeking to give leaders of federal and state legislatures immunity from prosecution for corruption.
SERAP in a statement issued by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare on Tuesday, said the move is tantamount to ripping up the nation’s constitution.
The organization, therefore, called on the lower chamber to immediately withdraw the bill, vowing to challenge the decision.
“Providing immunity for presiding officers against crimes of corruption is tantamount to ripping up the constitution. It’s a blatant assault on the rule of law and breach of public trust.
“The leadership of the House of Representatives must immediately withdraw this obnoxious bill. We will vigorously challenge this impunity,” the statement read in part.
Speaking further, SERAP recalled that “countries like Guatemala has voted unanimously to strip their president of immunity from prosecution for corruption, our own lawmakers are moving in the opposite direction.”
The group warned that if the lawmakers have their way by passing the bill into law, they will succeed in denying Nigerians of their rights to make leaders accountable to the people.
This comes shortly after the lawmakers sought to extend immunity to cover Presiding Officers of Legislative Institutions.
The bill which was sponsored by Representative Odebunmi Olusegun was supported by the majority of the lawmakers who say it is important to safeguard the sanctity of the National Assembly.
In supporting the bill, Majority Leader, Ado-Doguwa said: “It should be passed for the simple reason that it provides protection for leaders of the legislature considering the important work of the legislature.”