Wednesday, January 29, 2020 12:25 pm
By Lanre Arogundade
Cross River Governor Ben Ayade has grabbed the headlines with his claim that the ordeal of incacerated Journalist Agba Jalingo has nothing to do with him or his government and that his trial is strictly at the behest of the Federal Government. As an aside, even if this were so, then the Governor should qualify as the chief prosecuting witness. He speaks with conviction that Jalingo is guilty of treason. His executive governorship seems to have extended to executive investigation, executive prosecution and executive judgment. By his published words, he has decided the case pending before a law court.
But back to the real issue at hand, the good thing is that the facts speak for itself – res ipsa loquitur!
Jalingo is facing trial on a four-count charge. Count two of the original charge as filed in August 2019 (see below) was all about Jalingo attempting to bring down the reputation of Ayade by alleging that he diverted N500 million from the Cross River State Micro Finance bank. Similarly, count 2 of the ammended charge of October 2019 (also see below) is all about Jalingo seeking to cause breach of public peace by alleging that Ayade diverted N500M.
The ordeal of Jalingo started when he published the allegation. Declared wanted on this account, he had to run to Lagos where the Sowore ‘revolution’ matter caught up with him. The terrorism charges were and still are merely meant to punish him for raising accountability issues since the Anti Terrorism Act allows for detention without trial for at least three months or so in the first instance.
It is true that the matter in court is between the Federal Government and Agba Jalingo, however the fact of the matter is that count 2 would not have featured if there was no complaint by the state government. Indeed it is the crux of the matter as far as Journalist Jalingo’s harrowing experience is concerned. As the saying goes, the water skater does not just dance on the surface of the water, there is something or someone beneath the depth drumming for it.