July 25, 2021

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Agba Jalingo: Legal Battle For Bail Begins

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Legal fireworks have begun at a vacation court in Calabar, Cross River State, for the release of Mr Agba Jalingo who has been in the custody of the police for about two weeks now.
On Monday, his lawyers were at the court presided over by Justice Franca Isoni and told the court that the police were avoiding service of the court proceedings. Mr Attah Ochinke, a former attorney general in the state and counsel to Jalingo told TNN after the court session that following the court’s order for substituted service, the police would be served through the DHL on Monday.
He said Monday’s session was not for his bail but part of the processes leading to his freedom. “The court granted the order for substituted service.”
Ochinke told TNN that there was a separate application asking the police to show reasons why he should not be brought to court. “The law is a federal law but was domesticated in Cross River by this government.
“The court has said we should put the police on notice on that application. We are to come back on Thursday when the police is expected to also state file its reply on this. We have told the court that we want to test the law which was enacted by this government. We want to see if the governor will not obey his own law.”
Only on Sunday, the Cross River State Government denied any role in the incarceration of Jalingo, a social crusader and blogger, who has been having a running battle with the state government.
The government, in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr.Christian Ita, accused Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, of deliberately trying to mislead the public in his comments on the travails of Jalingo.
“The state government is made to understand that the police slammed terrorism charge against Mr. Jalingo for his alleged role in the RevolutionNow protest, as an ally of Mr. Omoyele Sowore, who is currently being held by the Department of State Services (DSS).”
The statement explained that the micro-finance bank report which Mr. Jalingo wrote and which Falana referenced, has nothing to do with Jalingo’s arrests and the subsequent slamming of terrorism charges against him.
“It may interest Falana and his co-travellers to note that the bank has since instituted a civil suit against Jalingo for libel. So whatever is going on between the police and Jalingo has nothing to do with the bank or the state government.”
The statement therefore, urged the Senior Advocate of Nigeria to acquaint himself with the facts of the case rather than seeking to use it to hug Newspaper headlines.
“The statement by Falana is a desperate attempt to hug the headlines. Had Mr. Falana not been interested solely in showmanship, he would have carefully studied the charge sheets before commenting.
“If Falana had chosen professionalism above showmanship, he would have discovered after studying the charge sheets that Jalingo is facing terrorism charges for his alleged role in RevolutionNow protest and not being prosecuted by the Cross River state government for criticizing it.
“It is heartbreaking that a lawyer of Falana’s standing has continually brought the profession to disrepute, cheapened it and spurned professional norms in the altar of populism,” the statement said.
The statement advised Mr. Falana to seek to personally represent Jalingo in court rather than staying on the sidelines to make unfounded statements.

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