29 December 2019
We call for the unconditional Release of Comrade Agba Jalingo that was incarcerated since August 2019 by Gov Benedict Ayade of Cross River State
Comrade Agba Jalingo, a practising journalist was arrested and detained on the order of Gov Benedict Ayade since August 2019 and since then Agba Jalingo is been wantonly remanded in prison even when the purported allegations leveled against him was a bailable offence.
We do not know when it had become offence in Nigeria for a citizen to demand accountability on how public fund is been spent by a public office holder especially when the man at the helms of affairs is a Professor.
The Igbo National Council (INC) had keenly watched the intrigues surrounding the prosecution of Comrade Agba Jalingo with dissatisfaction.
On the foregoing, the Igbo National Council (INC) therefore call on Gov Benedict Ayade of Cross River State to respect the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which guarantees Freedom of Expression and the Fundamental Human Rights of Comrade Agba Jalingo, and thus, quickly release him from detention within the next fourteen days from January 1st 2020.
We can no longer condole the tendencies of Gov Benedict Ayade to strangle Freedom of Speech and Human Rights in Cross River State, therefore turning the State into den of despotism and dictatorship of an oppressor.
We therefore State that if our demand to unconditionally release comrade Agba Jalingo within fourteen days as stated above is treated with levity, INC will not hesitate to mobilize the entire civil society organizations and Human Rights activists to storm Calabar for mother of all protest to demand for the immediate resignation or impeachment of Prof Benedict Ayade as Governor of Cross River State.
29 December 2019
Jalingo who was awarded the Gani Fawehinmi Award for integrity in absentia on Tuesday in Lagos, wrote an article in July demanding the whereabouts of the NGN500 million approved and released by the Cross River State government for the floating of the Cross River Microfinance bank.
He was initially invited by the Cross River State Police command in a letter dated August 14, 2019 to answer to a petition bordering on the article. The interview was slated for August 19. It was, however rescheduled for August 26 and later September 3rd 2019.
But, he was arrested in a gestapo styled operation at his Lagos residence on August 22nd after staff of his wife were held hostage for over four hours.
His arrest, subsequent incarceration and trial has been condemned by individuals, right groups and civil society organizations with Amnesty International declaring him alongside #RevolutionNow convener, Omoyele Sowore and pro democracy activist, Olawale Bakare as prisoners of conscience.
He was listed as one of the 10 most urgent cases of threats to press freedom by the One Free Press Coalition in October. The Cross River State government accused TIME, a member of that coalition which reported the story of practicing "gutter journalism."
Also, the Cross River State government has been fingered by many as being behind his travails, an allegation the government has continuously denied.