A Federal High Court sitting in Calabar has discharged and acquitted journalist and human rights activist, Agba Jalingo, of the alleged treasonable felony, terrorism, and cybercrime charges, brought against him by the Cross River State government.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, who presided over the matter gave the ruling court in Calabar.

The trial of Jalingo, who was arrested on August 22, 2019, lasted 30 months. He had alleged that N500 million belonging to the state was diverted which led to his arrest.

After suffering several adjournments, 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 declared that therefore, the charges are hereby dismissed.”

Before the ruling, the Director of Public Prosecution in Cross River State, John Ogban Esq. told the court that he had been directed by the Attorney General Commissioner for Justice, Tanko Ashang to discontinue the case.

Jalingo’s counsel, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), did not object to the verbal application for the withdrawal of the case.

“We commend the Honorable Attorney General of the State for taking this decision. We are happy that our harassment has ended,” Olumide-Fusika said.

The charges preferred against Jalingo were amended several times during the course of the trial.

Speaking with journalists after the ruling, Jalingo insisted he was innocent and decried the length of time he spent in jail because of what he described as “a sham trial.”

“I knew from day one that I did not commit the offence, I knew it was just a matter of time for the court to throw the matter away.

“It’s just painful that our system is skewed in this manner where three years of my time has been wasted coming from Lagos to Calabar because of a sham trial.

“Their intention was to scare me, push me until I break. So the lesson I have learnt is that it is better to hold on. Even when at the breaking point, take a deep breath, pray to God, believe in God, and ask him to give you strength.

“I think today, the person that will really feel bad is the governor of Cross River State and those who locked me up. Wherever they are now, I think their conscience is talking to them,” Jalingo said.


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