As the generation of exceptional leaders in no particular order, in the persons of Pa Anthony Enahoro that led the second and most successful motion for Nigerian bloodless independence from Britain; to the legendary Obafemi Awolowo, a man with moving foresight that built the first television station in Africa with proceeds from southwest cocoa estate as at the time France had no television station and led unprecedented developments across the length and breadth of the region he premiered; up to the great and glorious Sir Okoi Arikpo, a man of colossus insight that utilized his unmatched intellection and analytical brilliance to lay the case for the creation of the COR State, that eventually gave birth to the formation of Cross River and River States from the then Eastern region that once had semi-colonial control over the landmass these two States now exist on; up to their equals in Northern and Eastern Nigeria that served gallantly, I am overwhelming pleased to say I am proud of their historic deeds and for this reason I dole my hat.
Yet today, as we remember these great men that once led our country on the path of progress and brought dignity to Nigerians back then all over the world and commanded huge respect from our African counterparts, let it be said that it is both sad and worrisome to note that there is now a new breed of callous and morally decrepit individuals that somehow emerged as Governors in some States within the country, among which is the shameless and deceptive opportunist that now sits on the fortress of Diamond Hill (the seat of power in Calabar) to perfect evil across the landscape of Cross River State.
Citizen Agba Jalingo, an investigative journalist per excellent was abducted by men under the de facto command of the Commissioner of Police of Cross River State, from his Lagos residence and terribly bundled to Calabar under the pretext of getting him to answer questions surrounding his series of statements about the disappearance of N500Million from Cross River State Microfinance, a white elephant project that is yet to offer credit-administration support to one single entrepreneur within the State.
Over the last few months, the investigative journalist has been using his reveled expertise to question and expose the unprintable dealings of the Cross River State Government, from the illegal grabbing of land for questionable use in Obudu, to the widespread mismanagement of State fund, up to the latest straw that brought the camel’s back to a break, which was the courageous exposure of the missing N500Million Naira from Cross River State Microfinance Bank, which he, Citizen Agba Jalingo brought to public attention and demanded clarification from the State Government.
Rather for this food-on-the-table Government, that is shamelessly going about spreading the backward idea of table-manners ideology to address the issues raised by brilliant Jalingo, the misled Government have come so low to resort to the reprehensible option of using Police intimation and unlawful abduction to silence Agba Jalingo.
Today I join the call for the release of Agba Jalingo, in equal measure I so strongly condemn the unlawful abduction and incarceration of this brilliant journalist that is yet to be tried in any known court of competent jurisprudence since his illegal detention by forces within Cross River State. We at Citizens Solution Network, a proud member of Coalition of Nigerian Civil Society (CNCS) and Global Justice Project (GJP) are openly calling on the Cross River State Commissioner of Police to either charge Agba Jalingo to court or have him released since it is long past the statutory 48hours any Police authority could hold a person for interrogation.
It is totally unacceptable for the Cross River State Commissioner of Police to say Agba Jalingo’s abduction was due to Agba’s involvement in #RevolutionNow protest, a protest Agba took part in Lagos and not in Cross River. If Agba should be tried on the basis of his involvement in the justified protest-looking at the appalling state of things across the country, “why not have him tried in Lagos State-the very state he demonstrated in? Why must the Commissioner of Police in Cross River State have to ask his men to abduct and bundled Agba to Cross River State to answer for a nonexistent offence he was said to participate in, in Lagos State?” We just don’t get it.
Whatever the approach of the State Government is, in condemnable connivance with the Commissioner of Police to silence our illustrious journalist over his determination to hold Government accountable from the fourth estate, we wish to make it known that for every seconds that goes by without the release of this outstanding and innocent journalist that has led his entire life dedicated to bringing transparency to matter of Government; won’t work, rather it would only lead to increasing media coverage of this Government and the office of the Commissioner in bad light.
Let it be on public registry that we are now many calling for the release of Citizen Agba Jalingo across the country now. #FreeAgbaJalingo. End police intimation and close all illegal detention facilities across the country. #FreeAgbaJalingo today.
Forward as received till Agba Jalingo regains his freedom.
Mr. Richard F. Inoyo is the Convener, Citizens Solution Network and writes from Calabar.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Mr. Richard F. Inoyo, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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