By Kelvin Ololo, Patrick Obia and Blessing Araga
August 22 has been declared ‘Press Freedom Day’ by a collation of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in Cross River State and Association of Cross River Online Journalists (ACROJ) in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The group also decorated Citizen Agba Jalingo as ‘Icon of Press Freedom in Cross River State’.
The declaration and decoration was part of activities marking Jalingo’s 146 days in incarceration and 41 birthday today, second day of January 2020.
Conferring the honour on his wife Mrs. Violet Agba on behalf of her husband, the Chairman of ACROJ – Comrade Darlington Edem before Comrade Ken Henshaw – Executive Director of We The People, Leader Ben Usang – President of Africa Dignity Foundation and host of media personage, friends and well wishers explained that:
“Today is making 146 days since Agba Jalingo was arrested on 22 August 2019 in Lagos and brought down to Calabar, since then he has been detained and denied bail. As he champions the course of press freedom in the State, we have chosen that day he was arrested as ‘Press Freedom Day’ and also decorate him as the ‘Icon of Press Freedom in the State’ and we will continue to agitate for his unconditional release.” he said.
Comrade Ken Henshaw, posited that the incarceration of Agba Jalingo should be the last to be accosted with such inhumane treatment by any public officer which amounts to abuse of power.
He called on all and sundry to query the Ayade led administration until Agba Jalingo, Joseph Odok and other prisoners of conscience is released.
Leader Ben Usang reiterated the position of Comrade Darlington and Henshaw maintaining that no one deserves such treatment for asking questions.
He urged all and sundry to rally behind Jalingo and Odok to secure their unconditional release.
Others who poured out wishes describe Jalingo as a beacon of fair journalism and crusader of accountability who is paying a hard price to see that the civil rights of the people is not clampdown by oppressors.
The group vowed to defend and ensure that Agba Jalingo and Joseph Odok be released unconditionally by the Ayade led administration using Federal cloak.
The highlight was moving to the Nigeria Correctional Services Afokang, Calabar South where toiletries was presented to him to mark his birthday.
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