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 Police Command.
The court granted Jalingo bail on Thursday morning.
Jalingo was accused of defaming Elizabeth Ayade, the wife of Frank Ayade, who is a brother of Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade.
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.
The constitutional right to bail is ingrained in the trite law that every accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. This right is guaranteed under Sections 35 and 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
The judge was hostile to Jalingo’s lawyers, denying them the opportunity to stand down the case for 30 minutes in order to give the lead lawyer, Marshal Abubakar an opportunity to file an application for bail. When Marshal arrived, she refused to allow him to participate in the hearing.
She then ordered that Agba Jalingo should be arraigned in the dock and be read his charge. The judge thereafter sent him to Kuje prison until Thursday.
But on Thursday, the judge granted him bail.
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 obtained by SaharaReporters and 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.