There was mild drama at the High Court of Cross River State on Thursday as Mr. Denis Tarhemba, the lawyer to the Nigeria Police in a suit seeking to enforce the fundamental human rights of journalist and activist, Agba Jalingo, snatched documents from the hands of a former Attorney-General of the state, Attah Ochinke.
Tarhemba, who served his written response to the process filed by Jalingo’s lawyers during the court session, had approached Ochinke for the documents when the court rose for a break to reconvene by noon.
“When the former AG told him that, ‘look, you just served me this response in open court and I can’t give it back to you,’ he snatched the document from his hand,” Jeremiah Archibong, a journalist, who witnessed the scene, said.
According to Archibong, Tarhemba later approached Jalingo’s lawyers to plead with journalists not to report the drama.
Jalingo was arrested in his Lagos residence on August 22, 2019, by police personnel following his publication of an article asking Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River to come clean on the whereabouts of the N500m that was released for the state’s microfinance bank.
His arrest came on the heels of a police invitation, which was scheduled for September 3 and that Jalingo had repeatedly said he will honour.
He remains in detention while activists, civil society organisations among others have clamoured for his release.
The Police has since failed to arraign him in court despite serving him with a charge sheet.