By Sylvia Akpan
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The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade has denied any involvement in the arrest and incarceration of activist and Publisher of CrossRiverWatch, Mr. Agba Jalingo.
Ayade, who was speaking on ‘The Morning Show Program’ on Arise TV, said Jalingo was arrested for his involvement in #EndSARS activity.
Mr. Ayade claimed that “Agba Jalingo was taken to court by the federal government.” Alleging the activist “was arrested in Lagos by the Federal Government by his own post and threats where he showed himself participating in the EndSARS. It has nothing to do with me at all,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jalingo described the Governor’s assertion as untrue, saying he drew the attention of the Governor to illegal deductions from Local Government funds and misappropriation of money meant for Cross River Microfinance Bank. A statement the governor said “you are going to be confronted with the statistics then face prosecution for misinformation.”
Agba was arrested on August 22, 2019, following a report he published on July 12, 2019, questioning the whereabouts of N500m approved for the establishment of Cross River Microfinance Bank.
In the article, Jalingo mentioned that the “Microfinance bank had been rendered non-functional as money earmarked to start its operation was not released.”
He was arrested and detained and eventually released on bail after spending 179 days in custody, and in March, 21, 2022, the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, dismissed terrorism charges against him after the state government withdrew all charges.
Jalingo shortly after he was discharged and acquitted in an interview with journalists in Calabar said “I knew from day one that I did not commit any offense, I knew it was just a matter of time for the court to throw the matter away.
“It’s just painful that our system is skewed in this manner where three years of my time has been wasted, coming from Lagos to Calabar because of a sham trial.”
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