Mr. Dennis Tarhemba, the prosecution counsel in the case against journalist and rights activist, Agba Jalingo who is facing charges of terrorism, treasonable felony and attempt to topple the Cross River State government has asked the Court to grant it leave to amend the charges and an order to protect its witnesses.
Tarhemba, a Deputy Superintendent of Police in his opening statement on Wednesday at the Federal High Court in Calabar presided over by Justice Simon Amobeda said though the matter was adjourned to today and tomorrow (Thursday) for accelerated hearing, the prosecution has filed for amendment of charges and sought an order to protect its witnesses.
The lead counsel to the defendant, Mr. Attah Ochinke told the Court that despite the prosecution filing the amendment on October 11th, they were served hours to when the Court sat.
And, Justice Amobeda adjourned the matter to tomorrow (Thursday) to entertain the plea of the prosecution and commencement of trial.
“The defense counsel shall file and serve his reaction before trial tomorrow,” Justice Amobeda said.
The defense counsel declined speaking to the press. But, the prosecution counsel told journalists to wait till the next adjourned date to get details on the amended charges.
“They are matters before the Court and it (was) not taken today, it is tomorrow. So if you come to the Court tomorrow, you will now know the type of charge we intend to amend,” Tarhemba said.
When pressed for the reason behind approaching the Court for an order to protect its witness, He averred that: “You know such application is not yet heard. We cannot in any way give any information on what the Court is yet to pronounce. You wait till today.”
Mr. Jalingo arrived the court premises at about 9:26 AM in a green colored van marked “Calabar Prisons” in the company of another inmate and four correction officers. Two were armed and the other two unarmed.
Decked in in a black tee shirt with the inscription, “Dictators Perpetually Fear Our Pens,” Jalingo also wore a blue jeans and grey colored shoes.
Cuffed, He raised both hands in response to chants of “The Citizen” from colleagues and supporters before proceeding to collect a green coloured muffler clothing from Jonathan Ugbal, another journalist facing trial over the #RevolutionNow movement.
“It had the inscriptions “Great Nigeria” and “I Love Nigeria” boldly printed on both sides.