Justice Simon Amobeda of the Calabar division of the Federal High Court has withdrawn from presiding over the alleged treason case of Agba Jalingo.
This was after Jalingo wrote to the Federal High Court in Abuja asking for his case to be reassigned as the judge had been compromised and might not deliver a fair judgment following a leaked audio conversation.
The judge however, discredited the leaked audio where he was alleged to have said that the journalist would be treated like Ken Saro-Wiwa.
He also accused Jalingo’s defence team of being wanting in professional conduct.
He held that the court sympathises with the defendant and dismissed the prayer of the prosecution not to grant the prayer of the defense as it failed to show evidence how granting the provision of an electronic verbatim recorder would have affected the case.
On recusing himself, Justice Amobeda held that it is the administrative judge of the division that assigns cases and that this was assigned to him, adding that it was only proper, given the attention accorded the case by the media.
Jalingo will be remanded at the medium security custodial center in Calabar where he has spent 77 days so far after spending 34 days in police custody before his arraignment on September 25.
Jalingo’s only sin was writing an article in July demanding the whereabouts of the NGN500m approved and released by the Cross River State Government for the floating of the Cross River Microfinance bank.