The Igbo National Council has urged Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and the Nigerian Government to immediately release journalist, Agba Jalingo.

Jalingo was arrested by the Cross River Command of the Nigeria Police Force for reporting how Ayade approved and diverted N500m meant for Cross River Microfinance Bank.

He is being tried for cultism, terrorism and attempt to overthrow the government.

Chilos Godsent, President of INC, said that there was no crime in holding an elected government accountable, urging the state to withdraw all charges against Jalingo and release him unconditionally.

Godsent said, “We do not know when it had become an 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 helm of affairs is a professor.

“On the foregoing, the Igbo National Council therefore call on Governor Benedict Ayade of Cross River State to respect the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which guaranteed freedom of expression and the fundamental human rights of Agba Jalingo and quickly release him from detention within the next 14 days from January 1, 2020.

"If our demand to unconditionally release Agba Jalingo within 14 days as stated above is treated with levity, INC will not hesitate to mobilise the entire civil society organisations and human rights activists to storm Calabar to demand the immediate resignation or impeachment of Prof Benedict Ayade as governor of Cross River State.”

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