A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, has granted bail to journalist Agba Jalingo in a defamatory trial filed against him by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command.
Jalingo was granted bail on Thursday morning.
He was accused of defaming Elizabeth Ayade, the wife of Frank Ayade, who is a brother of Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade..
The police in August 2022 arrested Jalingo after hours of laying siege to his Lagos residence for allegedly defaming the character of Elizabeth.
According to a court document filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 6, 2022, the police claimed the publication by the journalist against Elizabeth was false and was released for the purpose of causing her annoyance, ill will, and insult.
DIPLOMATIC DIARY on Monday reported that the journalist was denied the chance to exercise his constitutional right to request bail during the continuation of the trial in a ruling delivered by Justice Zainab Bage Abubakar on Monday morning.
However, at the resumed hearing on Thursday, Agba’s counsel, Femi Falana (SAN), appealed to the Court to admit the defendant to Court in liberal terms especially as the prosecution did not oppose the bail application by filing a counter affidavit.
On his part, the prosecution counsel, Fidelis Ogbobe (Esq), said they were not objecting to the bail application.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Zainab Abubakar, granted Agba to bail with a bond of N500,000 and one surety in like sum.
Justice Abubakar said having “perused through the application especially paragraphs 10 to 15, 17, and 18 of the affidavit in support of the motion, the surety must own a landed property within the jurisdiction of the Court of which the titled documents must be deposited with the Deputy Registrar in charge of litigations of the Courts.
“Furthermore, the surety must depose to an affidavit of means before the Deputy Registrar, litigations of the Court.”
Also, she ruled that “Citizen Jalingo will remain remanded” until his bail conditions are met.
The matter was adjourned until May 31, 2023, for trial.