Goddie Akpama|25 August 2019
The unlawful arrest and persecution of Agba Jalingo, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of CrossRiverWatch for trying to hold the Cross River State government accountable, is one that must be condemned by all well meaning citizens, we must all rise now to stand against it.
In no democracy anywhere in the world is taking one’s government to task a crime. We cannot let such a thing fester because we should remember that when it rains it falls on everyone’s roof. Today it is Agba, tomorrow no one knows who will be the butt of this kind of injustice and for those encouraging this today, they should remember when it arrives at their own doorstep tomorrow.
We are aware of the Gestapo manner in which Agba was bundled by men of the Police Intelligence Reponse Team in Lagos State and brought down to Calabar, where frivolous trumped up charges have been brought against him. It is worrisome that while the police in the state agreed to Agba's request to meet on August 26, 2019 they still allowed some interest play, the Police in Lagos went ahead got hm rounded up in such brutal fashion in Lagos a few days to the date he agreed to honour their invitation.
We are also aware that Jalingo through his Facebook page had kept the public updated of his engagement with the police right from when he was invited by the state police headquarters in Calabar to answer questions on something to do with a report he did a couple of months ago on the State’s Microfinance Bank.
He had agreed to honour this invitation as I earlier noted.
Agba had also called the government out on local government funds and these are the main reasons among others that he is harassed in these manner. What is wrong with calling the governor to make these accounts? Is that a good reason to set the police as Rottweilers against him?
There is nothing there Sir Governor, just come, out tell the people clearly what is really going on as should be done. It is quite pretentious going about with such attitude and yelling the world about how democratic you are.!!
Therefore having a faceless person (Eta Eni) submit a petition that formed the basis for all these about his report on issues raised above is not only wicked but senseless.
The Eta Ani that is Petitioner, who is he or she? We will see this person in Court. Let the person come out if not it is just a sham.
Working on this basis and having a special squad of policemen bundle him down to the state by road, which he particularly kicked against, down to Calabar over such trumped up charges (civil matter) calls for concern.
In a letter from the Cross River State Police Command signed by DCP Evelyn Peterside, who is in charge of CID, says the invitation was based on a case of conspiracy to cause unrest and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace reported by the State Microfinance Bank in which Agba's name was mentioned.
Unrest? Breach of peace? This is laughable. This development which is a hatchet job organised/sponsored and spearheaded by Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr the former Commissioner for Finance in the state with a go ahead/directive from the state government, is a ominous sign for us all.
We have heard how the police went to Agba's wife shop in Lagos and held his worker's to ransome for hours and then marched one of them at gunpoint to his house.
It is so sad that the government would reduce itself to arresting Agba against his fundamental human rights Agba is a Cross Riverian, a citizen of Nigeria and a brother from the same Obudu with the governor. Maybe they think if Agba had come at the time he said he would, he would have been a hero. And that didnt go well with HE , he didn't want Agba to come to Calabar as a hero that he is, so he rather wants him humiliated in this manner. But one thing they should know is that no matter what, Agba is still a the people's Hero.
For the truth that Agba is telling Cross Riverians, he stands and remains a hero.
Note Agba is the head of a political party in the state so I ask, what is the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) doing over this matter? What of the place of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) as it concerns one of their own Agba!!
Today it is Agba in the police cell, tomorrow it might be me Goddie Akpama and next tomorrow, it might be any other person. Let's wake up for Agba now….
Cross Riverians should wake up and stand against this. It is a clarion call for all of us to wake up and be in the court tomorrow for Agba. We all shall rise to see where Agba shall be taken to.
All he has done is being consistent with asking the state government/governor to be transparent with the people by informing the public on government activities, it is now news that Govnor. Ayade has collected money to conduct local government election yet that he has not conducted. People cannot just sit down and fold their arms, while the man is deducting money for an election and nothing seems to be happening.
I am not scared of death or threats. Death would come when it will come. It is not about whether any one dies, but what have you left behind… Have you left a good name? Even Jesus Christ, who came with good news framed up and was killed by his people. Agba must not die in the hands of government as his been harassed, humiliated for telling the truth.
We challenge the governor to prove that what Agba is saying is a lie. Criticism has come to stay in politics. Be transparent and let the people know what is going on. Is it too much to ask?
The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Christian Ita, in a statement has tried to fine tune the narrative and give the impression his boss is not behind the entire development, but we all know Ita has been the centre of misinforming Crossriverians to please his pay master. (Misinformation the greatest risk in our society).
When you get knocked down! Get back up!!!
Agba won't quit.
Akpama writes from Calabar, Nigeria