By Chuwang Dungs, Jalingo
A magistrate court in Jalingo Taraba State have remanded three clergies, one member of the United Methodist Church in Nigeria (UMCN) for spying on the premises of the Taraba state Police command and spreading the photos to foreign partners.
In a brief hearing, at the Justice Mahmud Mohammed National industrial/Magistrate court Jalingo, Magistrate Bartholome Vakkai Kaigama, said the accused Rev. Ande I Emmanuel, Rev. Ignatius Jesse, Pastor Ahmed A Ahmed and Mr. Nicodemus Heman be remanded in the National Correctional Center, until Thursday 24th June 2021 to allow the court study the case to pass its judgement.
The Judge who refused to grant the accused bail, stated that the court would like to study the content of the case because of the sensitivity of the matter and the security concerns involved.
The Taraba State Police Command Public Relations Officer ( PPRO), Mr David Misal, in an interview told newsmen that the Clergymen were charged to court for secretly taking photographs of some sensitive location in the command headquarters which includes police the Criminal Investigative Department (CID), the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) and other areas.
He explain that “On the 03-06-2021 the police Commissioner received a letter of complain from one Rev. Yayuba B Yoila and Rev. Yunusa Z Usman of the United Methodist Church in Nigeria, indicating that some clergymen were engaged in destabilizing the existing peace in the church, so on the strength of the above, the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) sent an invitation letter to the clergymen for interrogation which they came, but on getting to the station they secretly took photographs of the Police headquarters gate, Criminal Investigative Department (CID), State Intelligence Bureau Office (SIB) and other sensitive location in the police command and attached same with a written complain letter to the Council of Bishop’s of the United Methodist Church, that the police have been paid by Bishop John Wesley Yohanna to harass and torture the invited clergymen”.
He said the actions of the clergymen contravenes the provision of the official Secret Act of the Nigerian Police as such the accused were taken to court for prosecution.
Reacting on the decision of the court, Mr Misal noted that the police have no control over the legal proceedings of the court and cannot reverse the decision.
“What they did was an offense, their act contravenes the Official Secret Act, which states that any person who for any purpose prejudicial to the security of Nigeria: and enters in the vicinity of a protected place or photograph a protected place commit an offense and is liable to punishment, that is why we took them to Court, so if the court feels they should be remanded in the National Correctional Center then that is the decision of the court and we have no control over the decision of the court”.
Also, reacting to the allegations that Bishop Yohanna had paid the Police to harass and torture the Pastors, Mr David Misal noted that Bishop Yohanna has not written any complain letter to the police command and as such cannot be linked to the case between the Taraba police command and the clergymen.
“How can they accused the Bishop for being responsible for the court case with the clergymen? I have not seen any letter that was signed by Bishop John Wesley Yohanna, the complains letter we received was brought by Rev. Yayuba B Yoila and Rev. Yunusa Z Usman, but if anybody still want to accuse the Bishop that is their own opinion, but the question I want to ask is it the same Bishop John Wesley Yohanna that ask the clergymen to take photographs of the police headquarters? Or is it the Bishop that asked them to send the photos outside the country? I am not aware of any Bishop sponsoring us, what we are doing is that we are investigating people who are revealing the secret of the Nigerian Police Taraba State Command”. He said.
The clergymen have since been taken to the National Correctional Center in Jalingo in company of church members and will return to the court on Thursday for ruling.
By Chuwang Dungs, Jalingo