The Nigeria Police Force arrested Agba Jalingo on 22 August 2019 in
connection to a story he published on the 17 July 2019 at the
CrossRiver Watch news platform, titled, 'How Ayade Approved and
Diverted N500 Million For Cross River Micro Finance Bank'.

Jalingo is a journalist, right activist and the publisher Cross River
Watch – an online syndicated news platform with huge followership and
topnotch professionals. Following the publication, the Jalingo
received an Invitation Letter from the police titled, 'Investigation
Activities: Re: Conspiracy to Cause Unrest and Conduct Likely to
Breach Public Peace dated the 14th day of August 2019'.

Jalingo was asked by the police in Cross River State in the
aforementioned letter to report to their station on the 19th of August
2019. Jalingo responded to the letter from the police adding that he
wasn't in Cross River State at the time but he will be available at
the police station on the 26th of August 2019. The police in a Gestapo
operation stormed Jalingo's house in Lagos on 22 August 2019.

He was deviously abducted by the men of the Nigerian police and taken
by road on a ten hours journey to Cross River State. Since then the
police have not charged him to court rather they have kept him
indiscriminately in detention where his health is deteriorating. The
police must be cautioned to note that our laws have not changed. That
police brutality and the gross violation of citizen’s right is not a
part of our laws. The Nigerian must also take a good observation of
the damages it has caused the masses its quest to silence the
citizens.

The law is that upon arrest for whatsoever reason the police is
expected to grant bail to the suspect or charge him to court within 24
hours or at most 48 hours. Where the police wish to detain a suspect
for more than the above constitutionally required time it must get a
court order to that effect. The police in dereliction of their duty
arrested Jalingo and since then they have committed him to detention
and continued to violate his right as guaranteed under section 35 of
the 1999 constitution as amended. He has not been charged to court,
the police have equally refused to grant him bail contrary to the
provisions of law. This criminal lawlessness of the Nigerian police is
a huge threat to our democracy and we must collectively fight against
it in the interest of our nation.

As a journalist, it's Jalingo's constitutional duty to hold government
accountable to the people as provided for under section 22 of the 1999
constitution as amended which states as follows, “the press, radio,
television and other agencies of mass media shall at all times be free
to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and
uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the
people".

The role of a journalist or the media therefore as the fourth estate
of the realm is a constitutional obligation which set the tone for a
robust democratic dispensation. It's therefore an offence for an
individual or the government to works against the media, to stifle its
operation and sacred objective.

The law equally has made provisions and safeguards to curb the abuse
of this constitutional objective. Where a story turns out to be false
or published in bad faith, the aggrieved party can bring an action for
defamation in a court of law to seek redress. There are also
regulatory bodies and pressure groups across Nigeria that regulates
the conduct of media professional to ensure that the ethics and
professional conduct of the profession is held in a good light.

It’s not for anyone to engage the police in a perceived civil
infraction when the law already has made provision and remedies to
protect an aggrieved party in situations like this.

The Governor of Cross River State - Mr. Ben Ayade ought to have known
that employing the police to intimidate a journalist is bad strategy.
The matter in question is a civil case and it requires no police
intervention. The Governors and the police are still struggling with
how to come up with an offense in respect of this case and that is
because you cannot reverse a civil infraction into a criminal case.
You cannot repress the voice of reason and caution in a democracy.

The reign of terror is over!

Ayade is hereby charged with immediate effect to order the police to
release Jalingo in his own interest or face the wrath of the masses
and posterity.

The spurious claims made by the police that Jalingo's arrest is also
partly linked to Sowore's #RevolutionNow is unfounded and laughable.
This is what happens when you arrest people thoughtlessly. It put you
in serious trouble because your action abinitio was orchestrated under
huge deposited of ignorance and a crass unseating contempt of
arrogance. Nigeria is gradually falling apart under its own
contradictions and the police stand in the center of this ruin. If
this country keeps Sowore and Jalingo any much further than this,
history will keep this scarlet in our sleeves and show this to us
forever.

The government must respect human right. There is no nation, faith or
creed that is greater than being human.

You may also like

Read Next