CSOs move against Gov, AIG over prolonged detention of journalist

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Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), United Action for Democracy (UAD), Take it Back Movement, Civil Rights Council (CRC) and Igbo National Council (INC), have indicated interest to stage protest over the detention of Comrade Agba Jalingo under the instigation of the Governor Ben Ayade-led Cross River state government.

The groups said it would be compelled to declare Gov Benedict Ayade Persona non grata in the thirty five states of Nigeria and FCT Abuja till Comrade Agba Jalingo is unconditionally released.

This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the President General of INC, Mr. Chilos Godsent and Comrade E. Edem, the Cross River state Chairman of Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), and obtained by reporters in Umuahia, the Abia state capital on Wednesday.

Jalingo, a publisher of CrossRiverWatch was arrested on Aug 22, over a report alleging that Gov Ben Ayade of Cross River diverted N500 million belonging to the state.

But, according to the groups in the press statement, “we are dismayed to hear that the former Judge handling the Agba Jalingo matter traveled with the case file to God knows where.

“In view of the above, we hereby call on the National Union of Journalist (NUJ) to blacklist Gov Benedict Ayade and the entire Cross River State government and parastatals till Comrade Agba Jalingo who is a fellow journalist is unconditionally released from detention.

“We thank all the Human Rights Groups, Pro-democracy and Civil Society Organizations that has signed-in to take part in the forthcoming Occupy Calabar Protest for the release of Comrade Agba Jalingo and the three other political detainees and Prisoners of Conscience (PoC) held in solitary confinement by the despotic and tyrannical government of Cross River State under the headship of Gov Benedict Ayade.”

The bodies added, “We are also calling on the Police Service Commission (PSC) to set-up a Panel of Enquiry to investigate the activities of AIG Austin Agbonlahor while he was serving as the Commissioner of Police in Cross River State.

“We appeal to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to intervene in Comrade Agba Jalingo’s case in other to save the Judiciary in Cross River State from being hijacked by desperate politicians in the State”.

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