Rights activist and Convener of Nigerians Unite Against Terror, Joe Okei-Odumakin, and a civil society organisation, have condemned the handcuffing of journalist, Agba Jalingo, by police and prison officials.
Jalingo, who is the Publisher of Cross River Watch, an online news platform, had been seen in several photographs making the rounds on the Internet handcuffed to a refrigerator and also other items in police cell and prison custody.
In prison, where he has been remanded for a while, wardens have cuffed his hands and legs.
Condemning this ill-treatment, Okei-Odumakin said the journalist should not be treated as a criminal when he had not been found guilty of any offence.
She said, “NUAT is appalled against this background to see a conscientious citizen, Agba Jalingo, being handcuffed like a common criminal while being paraded before the media as he was brought to the court by Cross River State Government on the directive of Governor Ben Ayade.
“We wish to state that such cruel treatment of Mr Jalingo is a conspicuous affront on human dignity in any civilised clime.”
Similarly, Enough is Enough, a rights group, questioned why Jalingo was handcuffed as he is being tried for doing his job.
In a post on Twitter, the group said, “While awaiting the outcome of #AgbaJalingo case, may we remind @senatorbenayade that journalists are not an extension of government public relations department.
“Why prosecute and handcuff a journalist for simply doing his job? #FreeAgbaJalingo.”
The group demanded a halt to the “orchestrated charade that has flowed so far from the trumped-up charges against Jalingo as we demand justice”.
Jalingo is currently facing four-count charge of terrorism and attempt to overthrow Governor Ayade of Cross River.
This was after Jalingo published an article exposing how the governor approved and diverted N500m meant for Cross River Microfinance bank.