The publisher of CrossRiverWatch (a Cross River State-based newspaper), Agba Jalingo who has been in police custody for nore than 7 days has been charged with treason.
His arrest followed his report on an alleged diversion of N500 million by Ben Ayade, Cross River Governor.
He was handed a four-count charge of treasonable felony, terrorism, cultism, and the disturbance of public peace by the Nigerian police after being arrested in Lagos and driven by road to Calabar, the capital city of the Cross River State.
In the charges which was filed before a Federal High Court in Calabar, Mr. Jalingo was accused of working with Omoyele Sowore the convener of #RevolutionNow movement , to disrupt the government and “undemocratically” force the government of Mr Ayade to end through violent means.
However Mr. Jalingo’s counsel, Monday Ubani explained the charges as “contrived” while figuring that his client should have been charged not more than 2 days after his arrest in line with the Nigerian law.
“We demand the unconditional release of Agba Jalingo from the unlawful custody of the police as it is obvious that the Governor and Police are not ready to arraign him yet for his alleged crime of treason.
However, if they have a case against him, the best thing and option available to them is to charge him to court on Monday and allow the judiciary to decide his guilt or innocence.
“We must resist Nigeria being governed like a banana republic or like a dictatorship. Nigerians are awake” Ubani said.
A media platform had reported that the journalist had sued the police over his arrest and detention, which he claimed were illegal and a breach of his fundamental human rights.
Mr. Jalingo is also demanding for N150 million as damages for the manner he was allegedly maltreated.