Lawyer Charged With Terrorism for Criticising Cross River Gov Ayade Gets N10m Bail
A Federal High Court sitting in Calabar has granted bail to Joseph Odok, a lawyer charged with terrorism.
The presiding judge, Justice Simon Amobeda, in his ruling said the defendant had shown “exceptional circumstances” to permit the court to exercise its discretion and admit him to bail.
According to the judge, the terms include a bail bond valued at N10m with two sureties in like sum and one of the sureties must be a civil servant with either the state or the Federal Government at Salary Grade Level 13 or above while the other must be a “close relative with a verifiable address.”
Both sureties are also expected to depose to an affidavit and provide two passport photographs.
The defence team was made up of E. E. Osim, Oliver Osang and Assam Assam Jr.
They represented the Abuja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association.
The matter was stood down for a few minutes after it was called due to the absence of the prosecution counsel, Dennis Tarhemba.
Another prosecutor from the Cross River State Police Command, C. I. Eze, entered appearance for the prosecution.
Osim thereafter moved the motion for bail dated and filed January 15, 2020.
Justice Amobeda in his ruling held that granting of bail pending trial remained a right enshrined in the constitution.
He said the counter affidavit of the prosecution was “bare as the deponent is a police officer who has no expertise in medicine.”
The judge ruled that the “mere claim” of the prosecution that the defendant was not sick was not enough to discountenance the material evidence placed before the court by the defence.
The matter was adjourned until January 28 and 29 for trial.
Odok, who arrived the court in company of two correctional officers, was arrested at his Abuja residence on September 26, 2019 and was arraigned on October 22, 2019 on two charges bordering on terrorism and cybercrime for comments he posted on Facebook criticising the Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade.
He pleaded not guilty and was remanded at the Medium Security Custodial Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Service.
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