A Nigerian lawyer, Joseph Odok, who is a well-known critic of the Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has been arraigned before the Federal High Court for terrorism.
Odok, who was docked before the court sitting in Calabar on Tuesday by the police, could be sentenced to death if found guilty.
He is also facing cybercrime allegations for allegedly accusing the chief of staff to Ayade of being a cultist.
The lawyer, however, pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.
After his plea was taken, the trial judge, Justice Simon Amobeda ordered that Odok be remanded at the Calabar prison pending the hearing and determination of his bail application on October 29.
“What they call terrorism, according to the prosecution counsel, is that he incited his community people against another community,” the defence lawyer, Oliver Osang, told journalists.
“The charges are phantom charges, they are politically motivated.”
The lawyer was arrested on September 26 in Abuja and taken to Calabar by road.
His Facebook page contains critical remarks on Ayade.
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In one of his posts on the social media site in September, Odok described the governor as a ‘joker’.
“Ayade keep getting it wrong with lofty projects.
“Why talk of Spaghetti flyover when you have not maintained or completed a single road project from your first administration?
“A man that can’t complete a single road keeps talking Super High Way, Deep Sea Port and now Spaghetti flyover.
“This joke is getting out of hands,” he wrote on Facebook.
The Governor’s spokesperson, Christian Ita, denied his involvement in the arrest and detention of Mr Odok.
“It’s wrong for people to describe as the governor’s critic, anyone arrested by the police. The governor does not know anything about his arrest, the police are in a better position to tell you why they have arrested him,” Ita said.
Another critic of Governor Ayade, Agba Jalingo, is facing treason trial over a report published in his newspaper, alleging that the governor diverted N500 million belonging to the Cross River state government.
Jalingo, a journalist and publisher of an online newspaper, CrossRiverWatch, is currently remanded in the Calabar prison.