Court acquits Nigerian publisher of cybercrime

A Nigerian publisher, Agba Jalingo, has been discharged and acquitted of cybercrime for accusing a Nigerian Governor of diverting N500 million belonging to the government, and was previously arrested in August 2019 and incarcerated for about 179 days, charged with terrorism and treasonable felony.

Penpushing report that Jalingo, Publisher of CrossRiverWatch online newspaper, was prosecuted by the Nigeria police over a June 30, 2022 Facebook post in which he alleged that Alami Ayade, the wife to the younger brother of the former governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, contracted someone to write law examination for her at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja.

The police thereafter arrested Jalingo over the publication in August 2022 after laying siege for hours at his Lagos residence, and was subsequently arraigned in 2023 before Federal High Court, Abuja, Federal Caapital Territory (FCT)

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Penpushing further reports that the judge, Justice Zainab Abubakar remanded him at the Medium Security Custodial Center, Kuje, later granted him bail, while on Monday the CrossRiverWatch broke the news on Monday about the court setting him (Jalingo) free of the alleged crime

The judge was reported by the online newspaper as, found Jalingo not guilty of the crimes the police accused him of, and in response said he was happy with the court judgement, however, stated that he was being persecuted and not prosecuted

“I was being persecuted, not prosecuted. When the prosecution finished their case, we (had) entered a no-case submission, so the court ruled today that they (the prosecution) only came to waste the time of the court. This case had given me sleepless nights because there are many things that I wanted to do which I couldn’t’, Jalingo said

Penpushing also reports that the Publisher explained that following the advice of a respected traditional ruler and other people in Cross River, he had sought an out-of-court settlement with Mrs Ayade, including visiting her to beg her over the matter, but she refused.

‘I am very happy that the court has given this judgment. This judgment is a victory for the Nigerian media because this is a law that has been used to harass those of us who are journalists’, Jalingo emphasized.

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