Wednesday, 17 July 2024.

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Court discharges, acquits Agba Jalingo in criminal defamation case

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has discharged and acquitted Agba Jalingo, Publisher of CrossRiverWatch, in a lawsuit instigated by Mrs Elizabeth Alami Ayade, sister-in-law to former Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade.

Jalingo was discharged and acquitted by the court presided over by Justice Joyce Abdulmalik on Monday.

Recall that Jalingo was charged with Cybercrime by the Nigeria Police following a petition by Mrs Ayade, wife of Dr Frank Ayade, younger brother to Sen. Ayade, over a Facebook post bordering on examination malpractice at the Abuja campus of the Nigerian Law School, which they (Police) said caused her (Alami) “ill will” and “insult.”

Police arrested Jalingo in August 2022 over the matter, after holding his wife and daughter hostage for over an hour at his Ogudu residence in Lagos State.

The arrest followed a defamation petition filed by Mrs Alami Ayade, through her lawyers in Abuja – Uyi Frank Obayagbona & Co, claiming Jalingo wrote a defamatory article about her and wants N500 million as compensation.

Jalingo had earlier alleged that one Mr Paschal Aboh, who was being tried by a court in Abuja for alleged examination malpractice then, was writing in place of a prominent Obudu woman.

He (Jalingo) further took to social media to state that Mrs Alami Ayade has denied reports linking her to the trial of Paschal, a law lecturer at the University of Calabar.

After police released Jalingo on bail in August 2022, the Commissioner of Police of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in January 2023 filed a two-count charge on cybercrimes against the publisher.

The suit with charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/565/2022 which had the Commissioner of Police, Abuja, as the complainant stated that the charge is in connection with the article Agba published about Mrs Alami Frank Ayade and the embattled University of Calabar lecturer – Pascal Aboh who was then facing trial for impersonation at Nigerian Law School resit examination in 2022.

“That you Agba Jalingo male of No.14 Oremeji Street, Ojudu Alapere Lagos on 30th June 2022 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did intentionally Published online at Cross RiverWatch and alleged that one Mrs Elizabeth Ayade Procured the services of one Pascal Aboh to write Nigerian Law School Examination Bar Examination for her, an information you know to be false for the purpose of causing her annoyance, ill will, and insult. You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 24(1) b of CYBERCRIMES (PROTECTION, PREVENTION ETC) ACT, 2015.

“That you Agba Jalingo male of No.14 Oremeji Street, Ojudu Alapere Lagos on 30th June 2022 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did intentionally Published on your Facebook page known as Agba Jalingo that one Mrs Elizabeth Ayade Procured the services of one Pascal Aboh to write Nigeria Law School Examination Bar Examination for her, an information you know to be false for the purpose of causing her annoyance, ill will, and insult. You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 24(1) b of CYBERCRIMES (PROTECTION, PREVENTION ETC) ACT, 2015,” the charge read.

Court discharges, acquits Agba Jalingo in criminal defamation case

Mrs Ayade had denied contracting Aboh to sit for the exam, and called the allegation “baseless and untrue.”




In February 2023, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Justice Zainab Abubakar adjourned the arraignment of Jalingo to 27th March 2023, to query him whether he was served his charge sheet with proof of evidence or not.

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In March 2023 before the date to hear the matter, Jalingo received a fresh suit filed by Mrs Ayade for alleged defamation of character, which was dumped at Hit 95.9FM Calabar gate.

Converseer reports that the summons which was dated 20th September 2022, with suit number, FCT/HC/CV/3303/2022, was never served on Jalingo or the other three defendants listed therein.

However, Court documents showed that Mrs Ayade’s Counsel, Uyi Obayagbona Esq., approached the Court for an Ex Parte order praying for an order of substituted service of the processes which were dumped at the gate of Hit FM Calabar

In March 2024, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Justice Zainab Abubakar admitted Jalingo on bail after he was remanded for allegedly “insulting” Mrs Ayade.

This was in accordance to a suit file against Jalingo in suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/565/2022.




He was alleged to have committed an offence punishable by Section 24 (1)b of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act 2015.

In June 2023, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Apo and presided over by Justice B. Abubakar awarded a cost of NGN20,000 against Jalingo and others in a defamation suit brought by Mrs Ayade in suit number FCT/HC/CV/3303/2022, which was filed on 20th September 2022. Others listed on the suit as defendants are one Francis Etungufe; a journalist, Sylvia Felix; and one Paul Utionpkan.

The defamation suit filed by Mrs Ayade was then adjourned to 21st September 2023.

In all these, Jalingo pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In May 2024, the prosecution closed its cyberstalking case against Jalingo in the criminal suit instigated by Mrs Ayade.

Today, 8th July 2024, the court discharged and acquitted Jalingo.

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Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

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