Please take a look at the first picture. That is Agba Jalingo, a journalist and publisher of CrossRiverWatch. The other man is Governor Benedict Bengioushuye Ayade (Ben Ayade for short). He is the current 2nd term Governor of Cross River State. He was a member of the 7th Senate and in terms of academic qualification, he is a Professor or so he claims. His age is just 51.
In other words, he is not some old uneducated primitive-minded man who just found himself in power. He isn’t an ex-soldier either. He is exactly what one might refer to as an enlightened, well exposed, well educated, cosmopolitan, liberal man.
Problem is, he is none of the above. He’s exactly the opposite.
On the 22 of August 2019, the Governor ordered the arrest of Agba Jalingo, the man seen on handcuffs in the photos below for publishing a report exposing how he, (the Governor) approved and diverted N500m meant for Cross River Microfinance Bank.
On his instruction, the Cross River Police kept Jalingo in detention for 34 days without being officially arraigned in Court. He was only arraigned on September 25 in handcuffs, over a month after being arrested by the Police.
And what was he charged with? Wait for it…….
Jalingo was charged with TERRORISM, TREASONABLE FELONY AND ATTEMPT TO TOPPLE THE CROSS RIVER STATE GOVERNMENT. And he was denied bail.
Please read this again.
Remember, this is not Buhari. This is not even APC. And the Governor is not some affidavit semi-literate man with an analogue mindset like one President I know. Yet, he charged a journalist with terrorism, treasonable felony and attempt to topple his Government. Just like the other senior tyrant is currently doing to Sowore. If someone with Ayade’s exposure could descend this low by treating a tax paying citizen beneath the law this way, what then do you expect from less educated less exposed mortals?
But do you know the real tragedy in this? It is the fact that we are all conveniently silent. Perhaps, because it wasn’t Buhari or APC that is carrying out this tyranny.
Shame on Governor Ben Ayade. And a bigger shame on the Nigerian Union of Journalists for not making the required noise but the biggest of shame goes to the PDP, an opposition party currently at the receiving end of official tyranny from the Buhari led Government but which is morally barren enough to condone even worse tyranny by one of its Governors.
In societies with reasonable leadership, publishing articles deemed libelous or defamatory doesn’t even require the Police in most cases. It is treated as a civil matter where the plaintiff goes before a Court to seek redress for his reputation, if he has any. But here, the story is different.
I’ve said it before and it bears repeating now, there are far so many demons troubling this thing masquerading as a Nation. Buhari is but one out of these numberless demons but make no mistake, there are far so many Buharis in our States and Local Government than your imagination could carry.
A shame, isn’t it?
Charles Ogbu is a freelance writer. He peddles words for a living.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Charles Ogbu and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.