By Salisu Waziri Taraba.
A magistrate court in Jalingo Taraba state has granted bail to three United Methodist Church pastors and one member who were earlier accused and remanded in the National Correctional Center in Jalingo for allegedly spying on the property of the Nigerian Police Taraba state command.
The accused clergymen and one member were on the 22nd June 2021 remanded at the National Correctional Center for breaching the “National Official Secret Act” of photographing the Nigerian Police headquarters and some sensitive location in the command and attaching same photographer to foreign partners of the Church.
In the second hearing of the case, Magistrate Bartholome Vakkai Kaigama, who granted bail to the accused at the Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed National industrial/Magistrate Court Jalingo, said the accused persons will be granted bail if they meet the condition of the bail.
” The accused persons will be granted bail with the following conditions, the accused persons will: 1. Deposit their international Passports to the Court, pending the determination of case by the court.
2. The accused persons will not travel out of the state for more than three weeks without notifying the court.
3. That each of the accused person must provide two grantors who must be landlords within Jalingo metropolis and would pay the sum of #2,000,000 in an event that any of the accused is goes missing”. He stated.
Magistrate Kaigama, however adjourned the case to 19th of July 2021 for the next hearing of the case, noting that the ensense of adjourning the case is to allow the police carryout their investigations.
On his part, one of the accused persons, Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel who spoke to newsmen, said he was greatfull to God that he has been granted bail.
” I am a pastor of the United Methodist Church in full connection, I have served the Church for 18 years without a single query in my record, I was invited to the court, as a law abiding citizen, I have to avail myself here. We are law abiding citizens, we will never indulge in any act that will breach public peace and security. So, we are been accused of something we know nothing about”.
He called on all the members of the United Methodist Church to be calm as the case is a mere allegation and God will always vindicate his people.
Also, reacting on the decision of court, the United Methodist Church leader in Nigeria, Bishop Johnwesley Yohanna said he was shocked that the case involving his clergymen and the Nigerian Police Taraba State Command had escalated to this level despite the church intervention on the issue.
” Initially, when I heard that a letter of complains was written to the Commissioner of Police Taraba State Command about our Church and that some of my Pastors and members were invited to the station for interrogation, I quickly wrote to the Police Command pleading with them to withdraw the case from the police station, because it was a church matter and we would like to handle the case within the church, but I was so shocked to my bones when I heard that my pastors and member were charged to court and remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Center for allegedly spying on the property of the Nigerian Police headquarters Taraba State Command” He said.
Bishop Yohanna, however called on members of the United Methodist Church to be calm and be law abiding citizens as the Church will do everything within it reach to help the Pastors and the member in this trying times.