- Journalist Agba Jalingo's detention continues to generate reactions across the country
- The Cross River-based journalist has been in detention since August 2019
- A group of civil society organisations has demanded for his release
A coalition, Civil Society Groups for Governance (CSGGG), on Wednesday, January 28, issued a 21-day ultimatum to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state, to release the detained journalist, Agba Jalingo or risk heavy protest at Government House, Calabar.
The president of CSGGG, Comrade Ogakwu Dominic, at a press briefing in Abuja, warned that civil society organisations would embark on massive protest demanding Ayade’s resignation if the incarcerated journalist is not released.
Jalingo who has been in detention since August and the CSGGG demanded that he should be freed within 21 days.
Ogakwu said: “We demand and will pursue till we achieve results; the unconditional release of Comrade Agba Jalingo who was arrested and has been in detention since August 2019, by the Cross Rivers state government.
“As a group averse to injustice, we can no longer tolerate the nefarious actions of Governor Benedict Ayade in deploying security agents to pervert the law in a bid to punish critics, journalists and also trample upon freedom of speech and human rights in Cross River state, therefore turning the state into a den of tyranny and dictatorship.
“Ayade should consciously snap out of the current euphoria the governorship office brings, because there is the fate awaiting him when he leaves office, as Nigeria cannot continue to harbour or make excuses for corrupt leaders.
“We do not know when it had become an offence in Nigeria for a citizen to demand accountability on how public funds are being dispensed by a public office holder, especially when the man at the helms of affairs is considered a professor.”
Governor Ayade has been under attacks over the arrest and detention of Jalingo.
Jalingo was charged over a report about an alleged diversion of N500 million by the Ayade-led government.
Nigerians on social media have been reacting to Jalingo's ordeal as he remains in detention till this moment.
Tope Akinyode wrote: The zeal that both Buhari and Ben Ayade have applied towards the unjustifiable trial of Agba Jalingo confirms the established truth that APC and PDP are Siamese twins with the sole aim of destroying Nigeria's democracy!
Ewusi Onirode wrote: My concern is for Agba Jalingo to be released and once this is done I will be fine period.
Alaba Alape wrote: Cross River state governor should fear God. Well, I advice Nigeria journalists to fight the governor with pen and paper until he release one of them he kept in detention. Please free Agba Jalingo.
Meanwhile, Governor Ayade on Monday, January 27, dismissed the suggestion that he was behind the detention of the journalist, noting that the federal government was the one prosecuting Jalingo and not the Cross River state government.
The governor stated that Jalingo is more of a politician than a journalist.
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