By Archibong Jeremiah
The Minister of State for Power, Prince Jedy Agba has been urged to respect press freedom and the fundamental human rights of Nigerians, as enshrined in the 1999 constitution, as amended.
The call was made by Citizen Agba Jalingo, publisher of CrossRiverWatch over the weekend. Jalingo accused his cousin, the Minister of masterminding the illegal arrest and detention of Oga Tom, Publisher of Power Steering Magazine by the Police.
The Publisher has been in Police custody since 13th October, 2020 over publications that seem not to have gone down well with the Minister. Power Steering Magazine is published and distributed at the Central Area, Abuja.
According to Jalingo, “Its been confirmed that Mr. Oga has remained detained in a Police cell in Abuja since October 13, 2020 on the orders of the Minister of State for Power, Prince Jedy Agba.
“I also learnt that the Minister is unhappy about headlines and some reportage that the magazine has been running about him. The magazine is not online, so I haven’t read any of the reportage but I have sighted some pictures of the hard copies. It is within the full rights of the Minister to be upset if he feels the stories are maligning him. That’s ok. I cannot say whether the content of those publications are true or not, but what I can say for sure is that no law in this country gives anyone the power, no matter how highly placed you are, to arrest and lock anyone up without trial.
“No matter how aggrieved you are, no matter how offensive what is written about you is, the law provides for criminal defamation, libel and other such measures that can be employed to deal with such occurrences. None of the laws made provision for even arrest, not to talk of indefinite detention.
“Resort to Police in the first place is an attempt to intimidate, and a reinforcement of our cultural disdain for the journalist and the primitive desire to flex the ‘Do you know who I am’ syndrome, and that must be resisted at all times.
“If the Minister needed good advice, I know enough lawyers around him who would have given him good advice even for free sef. We must not tolerate anyone using the Police to prolong the culture of brutality on any Nigerian particularly now that the #EndSARS protests have brought to the fore, the need to reform our pitiable Police department.
“I know the Minister is a Prince and Princes are not used to people messing around with them, but we are in a democracy, not a monarchy. The Minister should immediately free Oga Tom or ask the Police to charge him before a Court of competent jurisdiction and let the Court do its work. Let Tom Oga Uhia Go! Yes to PressFreedom!”
As at the time of filing this report, the Minister was being contacted for comment.
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