The Cross River State Government has taken over the prosecution of Agba Jalingo, publisher of the News Portal, CrossRiverWatch who is standing trial on terrorism and other related charges in the state.
‘The state’s Attorney General, Tanko Ashang informed Justice Simon Amobeda who presided over Court 2 of the Calabar Division of the Federal High Court, that a letter to that effect had been filed and is in the records of the court.
On last hearing, when the matter was returned to Justice Amobeda’s court, 57 days after he had recused himself, Mr. Ashang said they were ready to go ahead with the matter. The counsel to the defendant, Attah Ochinke moved a motion to vacate an order of the court which paused all proceedings until an electronic verbatim recorder is provided.
Consequently, in his ruling, Justice Amobeda, who held that the prayers of the defendant were vague, however, granted the prayers of the defence and recused himself for the second time, referring the matter back to the administrative judge of the division, Justice Sule Shuaibu, who had referred the matter back to him to entertain the motion filed by the defendant.
Interestingly, the matter will now appear before Justice Shuaibu by the next court date with the matter likely to start all over where he will be made to take a fresh plea which will make it three times in less than five months.
The courtroom was filled to capacity with dozens of supporters, family members, associates and civil society organizations waiting outside to cheer Jalingo on.
Jalingo arrived at the court premises at about 9:36am in a green van marked “Calabar” with two correctional officers accompanying him. He wore a black shirt with the inscription “Free Nigeria’s Prisoners of Conscience,” blue jeans and black shoes.
The shirt was produced by Amnesty International which had on November 20, 2019 declared him alongside RevolutionNow convener, Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare prisoners of conscience.
Sadly, Jalingo has spent 135 days so far since his first arraignment on September 25th 2019 after spending 34 days in police custody following his arrest on August 22, 2019.
As at press time, it remained unclear when Justice Shuaibu will issue a hearing notice for the matter. Jalingo who was listed at number 9 by the One Free Press Coalition in its October 2019 ranking of the 10 ‘Most Urgent’ cases of threat to press freedom across the world was arrested at his Lagos residence.
Amnesty International in a press conference in Calabar had declared that his trial is a “sham” and did not meet the basic standards after Justice Amobeda ordered that witnesses testifying against him be masked and the trial held in secret.
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
Rivers, Delta Top List Of 12,000 Abandoned NDDC Projects, Akpabio Confirms
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Tuesday night, disclosed that over 12,000 projects awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), have been abandoned across the nine states that make up the region.
Akpabio, who made the revelation while inaugurating the Security Committee for the field forensic auditor of NDDC in Abuja, said Rivers and Delta states have the highest records of abandoned projects in the region.
The former governor of Akwa Ibom State also revealed that NDDC was operating 311 accounts in different banks, before the advent of Treasury Single Account, TSA.
He added that some funds were even forgotten in some banks because of the large numbers of accounts been maintained by the commission during the period.
The minister charged the security committee to be vigilant and ensure adequate security is provided for the 16-member auditors in the course of discharging their duties.
The committee membership is drawn from the military; Department State Services (DSS); Independent Corrupt Practice and other related offences (ICPC); Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC and the Police.
Akpabio noted that the scope of the investigation is massive and first of its kind, adding, “I can say this is the first time in the history of this country that this kind of exercise is taking place. It is a very major exercise.
“And I am happy that the armed forces have taken it very serious by sending very senior officers to be on this security committee.
“There was an attempt in 1958 to set up a developmental agency for the Niger Delta region, that did not go down well at the end.
“And various attempts have been made up to 1990-91 when OMPADEC was also inaugurated and came in to be. But the result did not solve the problem of the Niger Delta.
“The agitation that the neglect and the seeming poverty of the region continued because of the environmental hazard and exploitation and all that, are still there.”
MOSOP Renews Call For Exoneration Of Saro-Wiwa, Others …Unveils Ogoni Dev Authority, Oct
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has called for the support of the Federal Government to MOSOP’s initiatives at resolving the lingering Ogoni conflicts.
This follows the overwhelming approval of a proposal for the establishment of the Ogoni Development Authority on Sunday.
President of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke, speaking during the presentation of the proposal before the MOSOP Executive Committee, said MOSOP was fully committed to a resolution of the Ogoni problem and needed the goodwill of the Federal Government to push forward the plans and proposals.
The Ogoni Development Authority is a creation of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).
According to Nsuke, “This Ogoni Development Authority is a frantic effort by MOSOP to set forth a clear path and plan which when implemented will: (1) provide for the future development of Ogoni, and (2) provide for the future economic security of the citizens and residents of Ogoni”.
Nsuke also called for the exoneration of Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa and eight others executed with him on November 10, 1995 to build goodwill from the government, garner support for the proposed development plans, and encourage the Ogoni people to push the proposals through.
“The exoneration will provide the goodwill needed to push forward the proposals for Ogoni development and encourage the Ogoni people to support the plans and initiatives,” he said.
Nsuke assured the Ogoni people of MOSOP’s commitment to resolving the Ogoni problem in a way that fulfills the intentions of the founding fathers of the Ogoni struggle and brings happiness to the larger Nigerian society.
“The goal of the movement at the moment is to clear the names of Ken Saro-Wiwa and move forward to achieve an acceptable solution to the Ogoni problem. We will therefore call for the support of the Ogoni people to achieve the most rewarding deal” Nsuke said.
He commended the Ogoni people for their peaceful disposition and commitment to the struggle for human rights, dignity of peoples and minorities, and for a better future for the Ogoni people and assured them that their sacrifices and contributions can never be in vain.
The proposal for the establishment of the Ogoni Development Authority was presented by the President of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke.
It went through a robust debate after which the MOSOP Executive Committee unanimously agreed to establish the Authority which would be charged with planning and implementing the development programme for Ogoni.
Nsuke further said development in the perspective of MOSOP was not awarding contracts for road construction.
He said development in the mind of MOSOP will be comprehensive, planned, designed, diligently implemented and should address all aspects of the people’s lives including infrastructure, telecommunications, education, job creation, water supply, housing, security, electricity, agriculture, and all other aspects of the people’s lives.
He said that it will not be an easy task to change the Ogoni society which had been a victim of divide and rule from Shell and people with personal interests to control the Ogoni oil and gas resources.
He, however, assured that MOSOP will be fully committed to what is good for the Ogoni people.
Nsuke noted that with the support of the larger majority of Ogoni people, the goal will be achieved seamlessly and the Ogoni people will ultimately reap the rewards of their struggles.
The full details on the proposed Ogoni Development Authority will be made public in October.
Okowa Allays Concerns Over Early LG Polls
Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has declared that against the hope of early local government election in January 2021 when the tenure of the current local government officials shall elapse, council elections will not hold immediately.
Speaking yesterday during the open air Thanksgiving service to mark the second term in office of the State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Barr Kingsley Esiso, the governor cautioned aspirants to various positions in the coming polls to slow down and wait for the release of time table by the State Independent Electoral Commission.
He stated further that the party would come up with modalities for the election to minimize expenses from the aspirants, adding that no aspirant should go and sell property because of Council election, stressing that the process for picking the candidates of the party would be so managed that less fund would be expended by contestants.
He congratulated the State Chairman of the party on his re-election which is a vote of confidence in his running of the party in the last four years.
Earlier in his address, Chairman of the Party, Chief Kingsley Esiso thanked the party leaders and members for the support which, he said, yielded appreciable harvest in the Victory of the party in the 2019 general elections.
In another development,Traders and Residents in Asaba-Ase, Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State and Ekregbesi community in Uzere Kingdom, Isoko South Local Government Area have been placed in unforeseen dilemma after flooding cut off access road between the two communities
The flood disaster which took yesterday was said to have occurred on the Asaba-Ase market day of Ndokwa-East when traders from neighbouring villages were in the community market to trade.
While visiting the scene where the ravaging flood cut the link road of the communities, President-General of Isoko Development Union ( IDU), High Chief Iduh Amadhe expressed shock over the incident.
He referred to the incident as a life threatening danger as he urged the state government to embark on rescue mission to save the people and vehicles trapped by the flood.
He expressed worry over the negative impact of the unwelcomed development, saying that people from Isoko, Urhobo, Kwale and Ijaw areas were at the market when the flood suddenly cut across the road.
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