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Agba Jalingo

Groups slam Gov. Ayade, call for immediate release of Agba Jalingo

Agba Jalingo

A pro-democracy and human rights group, Nigerians Unite Against Terror (NUAT), has condemned in strong terms the treatment being meted out to a journalist, Agba Jalingo, by the Cross River State government and security agencies.

This is contained in a statement by Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, Convener of NUAT, which stressed that handcuffing Jalingo like a common criminal while being paraded before the media and taken to court by the Rivers State government was an appalling act of cruelty and a conspicuous affront on human dignity.

Jalingo is the Publisher of CrossRiverWatch a private online platform and is being charged with disturbance of public peace and treason because of allegations of corruption he leveled against the Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, in articles in his platform and on social media and because of his association with Omoyele Sowore, Publisher of Sahara Reporters and leader of a group calling for a revolution in Nigeria.

NUAT pointed out that “the principles of freedom of information, confidentiality of one’s source of information in investigative journalism, truth, liberty, respect for the human rights of all and rule of law” are essential ingredients of a peaceful and progressive nation.

The group said further that these ingredients are necessary for Nigeria’s democracy to compare favorably with other nations on the scale of fairness, equity and justice, stressing that “the gross violation of the rule of law, citizens’ right to freedom of information, liberty and fundamental human rights, is a recipe for anarchy and breakdown of law and order.”

It, therefore, called for justice and an immediate “halt to the orchestrated charade” of trumped up charges against Jalingo, insisting that “an accused person is presumed innocent under our law until proven otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction. Mr Jalingo should not be treated as a criminal when he has not been found guilty of any offence.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, had demanded, early in September 2019, through Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, in New York, that Nigerian authorities should drop all the “ridiculous charges” against Jalingo, release him from detention, and stop using the country’s state security laws to harass government critics, stressing that “To equate published criticism of the government with treason is outrageous.”







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