Bayelsa High court vacates 30 days detention order on Ex-Radio Bayelsa GM

Six days after his arrest and detention, John Idumange on Tuesday got a reprieve as a Bayelsa High Court vacated the order for his detention by a magistrate court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that a magistrate court had on March 11 in Yenagoa, ordered Idumange’s detention for 30 days pending Police investigation.

Idumange, a former General Manager of Radio Bayelsa who alleged that officials of Bayelsa government diverted a N3 billion Agric loan was arrested on March 10 and charged to court the next day.

Some officials of the Bayelsa government had reported to the Police that Idumange had made seditious publications that maligned their persons in his claims.

However, the State High Court, Sagbama Division, on Tuesday granted bail to Idumange, who was an aide on Research and Documentation and later Social Media to former Gov. Seriake Dickson.

The Presiding judge, Justice E. Umukoro, after hearing the bail application by the learned counsel for the suspect, Andrew Arthur, granted Idumange bail which effectively vacated the earlier order of a Chief Magistrate’s court.

The judge admitted the suspect to bail in the sum of N10m with a surety in like sum, adding that the surety must be a senior civil servant, among other conditions.

It is not clear when the matter would be heard in court since the police merely approached the lower court to get an order to detain the suspect for 30 days pending the conclusion of investigation on the case.

The former general manager of the state-owned Broadcasting Corporation, Glory FM, was arrested at the gate of Royal FM, a radio station based in, Agudama, in Yenagoa where he was expected to speak on the his allegations of diversion of the Agric loan.

Meanwhile, Idumange, who was remanded at the Okaka Correctional Centre, Yenagoa, said he was advocating that the loan facility should be disbursed to real and not imaginary farmers.

He appealed to the relevant authorities to ensure that the CBN loan should get to the Bayelsa farmers to boost food production and achieve food security.

Recounting his ordeal,  Idumange said: “I was arrested at about 1 PM on Wednesday March 10, 2021 at the gate of Royal F.M.

“ I was invited to discuss how Bayelsa people can access agricultural loans from the Bank of Agriculture since in my opinion, the N3 billion CBN loan granted Bayelsa State may not get to the real farmers.

“My sin is that I created the consciousness that the first tranche of N1.5billion was paid in March-April, 2020.

“I was 100 per cent correct. I am happy the government has accepted that they received the loan to upgrade agricultural facilities.

“What facilities ? I don’t know?

“The CBN granted the loan to enable the poor Bayelsa farmers to access the loan to cultivate rice and cassava.

“The loan was never meant for politicians who of course are not farmers. Please, how much is a custard rubber of garri in Bayelsa ?

“It is about N900. In Edo State where I am now it is N750. We are not too lucky to have the kind of leadership that can remember the ordinary farmer.

“Let me thank my colleagues in the media. It was indeed amazing that I found the loan publication in about nine national dailies, 25 online publishing outfits and more than 20,000 comments on Facebook in just a short time.”

NAN reports that Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa had earlier dismissed the allegations against his aides of diverting a huge component of the loan for private use as a mere ploy by Idumange to get an appointment into his administration.

Former governor Dickson had also dissociated himself from the attacks and urged his allies to close ranks and support Diri’s administration. (NAN)