A Chief Magistrates Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State and presided over by Mrs Rita Marshall, has fixed August 10, 2020 to rule on the no case to answer submission filed by the defendants in case number MC/428C/19.
The defendants, Jonathan Ugbal and Jeremiah Archibong, are the News Editor and Managing Editor of CrossRiverWatch, an online newspaper based in Cross River State.
They were arrested on August 5, 2020 and after spending two nights in detention, three counts charges bordering on conspiracy, unlawful assembly and conduct causing breach of public peace were preferred against them when they were arraigned on August 7, 2020.
Mr Jonathan is said to have arrived the venue for the #RevolutionNow protest in the morning of August 5, 2019 on his way to work to report it but was arrested by the Anti-Cultism and Kidnapping Squad, who claimed he had knowledge of the protest beforehand and therefore was part of the planning.
Mr Archibong and Nicholas Kalu, a correspondent with The Nation newspapers, visited the unit to inquire why he was arrested and were both detained.
However, Mr Kalu was released shortly before midnight.
After several adjournments, the arresting police officer, DSP Igini Chukwuma, and the investigating police officer, Sergeant Aaron Adie, testified before the court.
Chukwuma told the court that he was ordered to arrest anyone, who approached the venue and having seen Jonathan he decided to “take him in”.
He said he was later ordered to transfer him to the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, which he did and had no knowledge of the investigations after that.
Sergeant Adie in his testimony denied knowledge of the fact the duo were journalists and could not explain why only two out of the three were charged in court.
Also, he said he neither knew the source of livelihood of the duo nor their addresses.
Counsel to the defendants, Kehole Enya, proceeded to file a no case to answer submission, which was adopted on Wednesday.
He prayed the court to acquit and discharge the duo as the police had failed to prove their case.
SaharaReporters, New York