Court orders arrest of whistleblower who accused Bayelsa govt of diverting N3bn loan

A Bayelsa State High Court presided over by Justice Iniekenimi Uzakah has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of a former General Manager of the State Broadcasting Corporation, John Idumange.

Idumange, who also served as former Governor Seriake Dickson’s aide on Research and Documentation as well as Social Media, is standing trial for accusing some government officials of diverting the N3bn agriculture loan of the Central Bank of Nigeria allocated to Bayelsa.

Uzakah gave the order on Monday following an oral application by the state prosecuting counsel, E. S Obed, who stated that the accused had been absent from court to defend charges levelled against him.

He, however, adjourned the case to July 26.

The defence counsel, Ebikebuna Aluzu, told the court that the defendant had an accident on his way to court but the judge insisted that the defendant must be produced in court on the next adjourned date.

Idumange was sued by the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Biriyai Dambo, for alleged misdemeanour and seditious publications against government officials, accusing them of diverting the N3bn CBN agric loan.

A Magistrates’ Court had on March 11, 2021, in Yenagoa had authorised the former Radio Bayelsa manager’s detention for 30 days pending a police investigation.

He was arrested on March 10 and arraigned the next day for the allegations against the government officials who reported him to the police, claiming their reputations had been maligned.

However, the State High Court, Sagbama Division, granted him bail but the case which was earlier assigned to Justice Ebiyerin Umukoro was later re-assigned to Justice Uzakah. PUNCH

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