Counsel for Agba Jalingo, the journalist facing trial at the Federal High Court in Calabar, for alleged terrorism and cyber crime, Mr Daniel Kip, says the Cross River State government is responsible for the ordeal of Jalingo, the publisher of online news platform, CrossRiverWatch.
Governor Ben Ayade had said recently that Jalingo was being prosecuted by the Federal Government and not the state, a claim that had been widely faulted by many as untrue.
But, Kip, while speaking about the travails of his client in Calabar, said, “There is no way anybody can run away from the fact that Agba Jalingo’s ordeal is strictly tied to Cross River State and not the Federal Government. The amendment that was done subsequently to the charge to make it Federal Republic of Nigeria against Agba Jalingo was just to escape that impression which was glaring. It was to make it seem that it was the Federal Government that was prosecuting Agba Jalingo.
“If it was the Federal Government that was prosecuting Agba Jalingo, why wasn’t the Attorney General of the Federation prosecuting him? Why were legal officers from the office of the Inspector General of Police not prosecuting him? It is an irrefutable fact that the government of Cross River State is involved in Agba Jalingo’s ordeal.”
“If you read one of the counts preferred against him, it is that he made an allegation against the governor of Cross River State in relation to about N500m channelled towards a Microfinance Bank. Was that allegation made against the Federal Government?
“To me, the inclusion of the counts in relation to Omoyele Sowore and the RevolutionNow protests that were planned in other places was just to deviate from the actual substance of why Agba Jalingo is being prosecuted. He is being prosecuted in Cross River State because he has been questioning a lot of executive actions taken by the government of Cross River State. This trial is to intimidate him so that he can keep quiet.”
The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Tanko Ashang, has taken over his prosecution.