Former Governor of Plateau State and now a Senator representing Plateau North, Senator Jonah Jang and one other person Yusuf Pam arraigned before Jos High Court on 12 count charges of misappropriation of funds disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEDF) have been granted bail after eight days in Jos Prison.
Even as Senator Jang declared that his detention constitutes a gross abuse of the fundamental rights guaranteed as a law-abiding citizen and as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While granting the bail, Justice Daniel Longji who dispelled the fear of prosecution that that the 1st accused person would interfere with the witnesses and might not make himself available for prosecution stated that this remains in the realm of speculation and suspicion adding that it is in law that suspicion, no matter how strong, cannot be acted upon by a Court of law.
“It is my candid view for now that the Accused/Applicants having shown by the affidavit evidence that they will not interfere with the witnesses, will not jump bail and they would make themselves available at the trial court to answer the charges against them, I should exercise my discretion in their favour” Justice Longji declared.
Justice Longji, therefore, granted bail to the first and second accused persons in the following terms, that first accused person Senator Jonah Jang must provide two sureties in the sum of one hundred million naira, one of which shall be a first class traditional ruler within the jurisdiction of the court.
For the second accused person, Justice Longji declared thus: “For the 2nd accused, two sureties in the sum of N50 Million only each. One of the sureties shall be a person of the status of Permanent Secretary or its equivalent. The 1st and 2nd accused shall surrender their international passports to the Chief Registrar of the High Court pending the trial or further order”
The judge had last week Wednesday ordered that the suspects be remanded in Jos Prison pending ruling on a bail application made by Robert Clarke (SAN) counsel to the suspects. Justice Longyil during the three hours proceedings adjourned ruling on the bail application when Robert Clarke prayed the Court to grant the accused person bail.
Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacob (SAN) had earlier urged the Court to refuse bail to the accused on the ground that the accused may not appear to stand their trial because the available evidence against them was very cogent and overwhelming adding that offences with which the accused person was charged were serious, which related to fraud and economic sabotage.
Apparently reacting to his detention, Senator Jonah Jang in a statement issued after he was granted a bail said he was kept in detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and deprived of the inalienable right to personal freedom and association.
He stated that if the laws of Nigeria are still potent under the current circumstances, his detention constitutes a gross abuse of the fundamental rights guaranteed as a law-abiding citizen and as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
“Where the constitution provides for an accused person to be charged to court within one day, I was held by the EFCC for over a week in flagrant disregard to the letters and spirit of the supreme document which legitimizes the very existence of our country. My lawyers have instituted a case at the FCT high court and I shall pursue it to its logical conclusions.
“As a believer in Jesus Christ, I count it all joy to be found worthy of these trials and tribulations. I am aware of my fallibility as a mortal, but it has been a rare privilege by all standards of estimation, to be granted the opportunity to share the gospel of our Lord and Saviour to many souls I met in captivity. It was a remarkable experience to fellowship with brethren in that kind of condition.
“As Governor of Plateau State in the 8years entrusted to me, my preoccupation was the welfare, wellbeing, and security of the people. My work was dedicated to opening new frontiers and elevating our state and people to a status commensurate with the expectations of a world which has changed tremendously. A testament of that can be easily identified in all 17 Local Government Areas of the State, and other strategic areas within the governance landscape.
“The burden I carry in my heart is not of grudges against those against me, but of gratitude for those who have endured difficult conditions to stand with me through this ordeal. I am convinced beyond doubts that your labour of love shall not be in vain. May God bless you for remembering me in my hour of distress” he said.
Meanwhile, there was a mild drama at the premises of Jos High Court shortly after the bail was granted, when youths blocked the vehicle of Nigerian Prison services from taking Senator Jang back to prison pending when the sureties including the Gbong Gwom of Jos, Da Gyang Buba along with others will perfect the bail conditions spelt out by Justice Longji.
The youths who insisted that the former governor must come down from the vehicles and go back home in his personal car succeeded while the former governor was later conveyed in Gbong Gwom car to the palace of the paramount ruler.