The Bayelsa State Government has expressed displeasure with the State High Court in Yenagoa for granting bail to Governor Duoye Diri’s critic, John Idumange.
Idumange, a former head of the state-owned radio station, Radio Bayelsa, was charged for sedition after accusing Diri’s administration of diverting the N3 billion agricultural loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The critic who served as an aide to the former governor of the state, Seriake Dickson was arrested on March 10, 2021, by the police at the gate of a private radio station in Yenagoa, where he was expected to speak on his allegations against the government.
Idumange was arraigned before a chief magistrate who gave the police power to remand him for 30 days to enable them to conclude investigations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), however, reported that the order was vacated by the state High Court judge, Ebiyerin Omukoro, who granted bail to Mr Idumange on March 15.
The publication added that the case which was scheduled for hearing before Justice Umukoro on Tuesday was stalled because the Chief Judge of the state, Kate Abiri, reassigned it to another judge, following a request by the Attorney-General of the state, Biriyai Sambo (SAN).
Mr Sambo had expressed doubt over Justice Omukoro’s fairness in the case, adding that the judge vacated the remand order by a lower court and granted Mr Idumange bail without hearing the opposition to the bail application.
Senator Seriake Dickson, who was once Idumange’s principal, denied having a hand in the allegations, stressing that he was supportive of Diri’s administration.
“I want to advise that no one who is supportive of me, a member of our party or who claims to be, should be publicly critical of our government. This is unacceptable,” Dickson said.
Reacting to Idumange’s allegations, Governor Diri said it was only a ploy to blackmail and arm-twist his administration to give appointments.
The governor said:
“Let me say it clearly before the full glare of the press that we are open to criticism if they are constructive, but this one is entirely not based on facts, the funds are being managed by CBN and warehoused at Access Bank.
“The N3 billion is not in the treasury of Bayelsa Government to be disbursed and the CBN has come here to say that no funds are missing.
“I want to tell Chief Idumange that I am not the type of person to be blackmailed into giving out appointments.”