After weeks of delay, sources in the Calabar division of the Federal High Court said the administrative judge, Justice Sule Shuaibu, has received the case file in the matter involving journalist and rights activist, Agba Jalingo.
The former trial judge in the matter, Justice Simon Amobeda, had failed to transmit the case file number FHC/CA/59C/2019 to Justice Shuaibu after he recused himself and proceeded on vacation in December 2019.
But Justice Shuaibu, who is senior of the two judges in the division, is said to have asked for time to read through the case file before issuing hearing notices to the prosecution and defense counsels.
Meanwhile Justice Amobeda, who denied admitting him to bail twice, ruling that he had not shown “exceptional circumstances” to warrant the court to exercise its discretion is said to have boasted that he had inserted a clause in his last ruling where he recused himself that will stall the trial.
Also, some colleagues of Jalingo, who attended a court session for Joseph Odok, a lawyer and critic of Governor Ben Ayade’s administration last week, said Amobeda had sent Odok with a subtle message to Jalingo that he was not in possession of his case file anymore but still had some control over his matter.
Jalingo was arrested on August 22, 2019 at his Lagos residence and ferried to Calabar for an article he wrote in July wherein he asked the Cross River State government to come clean on the whereabouts of the N500m approved and released for the floating of the Cross River Microfinance bank.
He spent 34 days in police detention before he was arraigned initially on September 25, 2019 with charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony and attempt to topple the Cross River State Government preferred against him.
However, the four charges were amended to border on terrorism and cybercrime.
He risks a death sentence if convicted.
He is currently remanded at the Medium Security Custodial Center in Afokang, Calabar, where he has spent 121 days so far after appearing before Justice Amobeda on September 25, 2019.