A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital has remanded a Journalist, Citizen Agba Jalingo at the medium security custodial center in Kuje for allegedly defaming Elizabeth Frank Ayade, wife of the younger brother of Governor Ben Ayade, in a published article.
Jalingo is also accused of having committed an offense punishable by Section 24 (1)b of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.
However, he pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Shortly after, the prosecution counsel, Fidelis Ogbobe Esq. sought an adjournment for trial which the defense counsel, F. Baba Isa, did not oppose but pleaded for the matter to be stood down as the lead counsel, Marshal Abubakar Esq. was on his way.
Mr. Ogbobe opposed the application, citing Section 354 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 which stipulates that when parties are called, the Court shall proceed to hear the matter.
Ogbobe said, “The excuse is a calculated attempt to postpone the arraignment, and asked the Court to not take the defense seriously.”
But, Isa said in the interest of justice, the sins of the Counsel should not be visited on the defendant.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Zainab Abubakar said in her records, he was absent from Court. She also declined the defense request to move the motion for bail.
She subsequently adjourned the matter until March 30, 2023 for the Court to take the bail application of the defendant and May 31, 2023 for the trial.