27 December 2019
Coalition of Cross River State Civil Society Organisations in Cross River State have charged Nigerians and the international community to boycott the Humanity-themed Carnival Calabar 2019. They have also tasked the Commissioner for Humanity and Social Development in the state to ensure the speedy release from prison of the persons of Agba Jalingo and Joseph Odok.
According to them the unlawful incarceration of the duo of Odok and Jalingo smears a negative picture on the Humanity-themed Carnival Calabar.
They made this call on Wednesday 25th December when they went to identify with Jalingo and Odok in Calabar the state capital where they are incarcerated in the facility of the Nigerian Correctional Service NCS.
See full scripts of the press release below —
PRESS RELEASE: Humanity-themed Carnival Calabar 2019 and the Inhumanity of the Incarceration of Jalingo and Odok.
'Coalition of Cross River State Civil Society Organisations, CCRSCSO
Preamble: In August 2019, His Excellency the Executive Governor of Cross River State unveiled the theme of the Carnival Calabar 2019 to be —Humanity. However, in the same month of August this year, human rights activist Agba Jalingo was illegally arrested at his Lagos residence by officers of the Nigerian Police and detained. In the following month of September, Joseph Odok's arrest was effected. Each of them have spent over hundred days in detention whereas their trial is yet to commence.
Whereas the theme of the Carnival Calabar 2019 being 'Humanity' is a clear indictment on the Cross River State Government in respect to the unlawful incarceration of the duo of Jalingo and Odok, we the members of the Coalition of Cross River State Civil Society Organisations, CCRSCSO having paid a visit to Jalingo and Odok today in the Custodial Centre in Calabar Correctional Service, Afokang and having convened a press conference, therefore resolve as follows that:
i. We issue a 48 hour ultimatum demanding the release of the duo activists Agba Jalingo and Joseph Odok PhD without conditions.
ii. That if (i) above is not met, we demand that the international community and the generality of the Nigerian public in solidarity with the incarcerated journalist and activist, boycott the 28 December 2019 Carnival celebration in Calabar.
iii. The first official assignment of the newly inaugurated Commissioner for Humanity in Cross River State, Blessing Egbara, is to comply with (i) above.
iv. Should the Honourable Commissioner for Humanity fail in her first official assignment, we call on His Excellency the Executive Governor of the State, Sen. Prof. Benedict Ayade, to immediately replace the Humanity-themed Carnival Calabar 2019 to something else in order to avoid a contest of semantics and prevent the misrepresentation of human right reality within Cross River State to Nigerians and the international community.
In conclusion, we want to notify the powers that be in the state, that we are aware, from our intelligence, that there are 6 activists in your hit list you have marked down to give the Agba Jalingo/Joseph Odok treatment beginning from January 2020. But be rest assured that Cross Riverians are watching, and the world is observing as well —we will not be deterred.
Anthony Bissong Attah
Richard F. Inoyo