By CrossRiverWatch Admin
After a harrowing 179 days in Calabar Correctional Centre, detained journalist, Agba Jalingo on Wednesday relived his experiences in the facility, describing his incarceration as a huge lesson.
Jalingo, who arrived the domestic wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos two days after his release, said he went on a six- month course and is now equipped on how to be a voice for the voiceless, especially with the way politicians run the affairs of the people.
He said trouble started when he exposed the alleged fraud perpetrated by Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State who withdrew N3.5 billion from the joint local government account to fund his re-election and another N500 million from micro -finance account.
Jalingo, who described Gov. Ayade as his brother denied ever making demands or receiving any gratification and challenged the governor to come up with facts to back his claims.
“The governor is my brother; I did a lot to promote him before he got to power and I made it part of my duty to continue to support him to succeed. I did that to a substantial extent until he decided to derail.
“Last year, when he was going to run for election, he withdrew N3.4 billion from local government funds to run his re-election campaign. I drew his attention to it. He was not happy. NGO trains 10 million women on capacity to end conflicts in Plateau, Kaduna
“That was where our problem started and he promised he was going to send me to jail. The N500 million micro- finance money was what broke the camel’s back. He could not take it any longer.
“In Cross River state in particular and in Nigeria in general, you discover that these leaders don’t want us to ask questions. If I asked you what you did with N500 million from micro -finance bank, what I expect to hear from you is answers and not incarceration.
“I call on Nigerians to say there is a lot to do. The little space we grabbed from the military, the politicians are shutting it down for us. The earlier we wake up and maintain our position, the better for us,” he added.
The activist who is the publisher of the CrossRiverWatch absolved the federal government of having a hand in his incarceration, putting his arrest and prosecution on the doorsteps of Gov. Ayade, adding that he saw his arrest coming.
“He has a hand in my prosecution; he has a hand in my arrest. I saw my arrest coming because they told me they were going to arrest me. I knew they were coming for me. In fact, when the commissioner for finance came to Lagos, he paid for the logistics of my arrest.
“He called me and I said I was in Abuja. I knew they were around my neighbourhood and I was prepared for it. My arrest was made by Gov. Ben Ayade; his younger brother paid for the logistics of my arrest.
“They cannot put the blame elsewhere. It is act of cowardice to arrest someone and come around to deny it. He is the one that is responsible for my prosecution,” the journalist asserted.
Culled from The Daily News.
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