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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has joined the growing number of groups that have called on the Nigerian government to free the detained Nigerian journalist, Agba Jalingo, from prison.
The union in a letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said the travails of Mr Jalingo appear to be “persecution and not prosecution.”
The letter dated February 10 is signed by the NLC National President, Ayuba Wabba.
Mr Jalingo, the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, was arrested on August 22, 2019, over a report alleging that Cross River governor, Ben Ayade, diverted N500 million belonging to the state.
Mr Jalingo, who is facing treason charges, is detained in Calabar prison. The court has refused to grant him bail.
The NLC told Mr Malami, that Mr Jalingo’s trial at the Federal High Court, Calabar, has been “very unusual and controversial”.
A secret recording where the trial judge, Justice Simon Amobeda, allegedly made some “biased” remarks against Mr Jalingo was leaked to the press late last year.
The leaked audio was published by TheCable, an online newspaper, on November 14.
TheCable reported that Mr Amobeda in the secret recording insisted that Mr Jalingo’s trial would go on whether or not the defence counsel wanted to withdraw from it, and then cited the case of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the environmental activist and Ogoni leader, who was executed by Sani Abacha-led military administration on November 10, 1995.
Based on the leaked audio, Mr Jalingo had demanded his case should be transferred to another judge.
“Mr Jalingo’s travail appears to give off the scent of persecution and not prosecution,” the NLC president, Mr Wabba said in the letter.
“Such perception should not be allowed to thrive given that Nigeria is a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
“Without going into the merits or otherwise of the case, it is important to note that Agba Jalingo’s case is giving Nigeria a very bad reputation in the international arena as it has been construed that our government has scant respect for the fundamental right to freedom of speech especially of the media. It is important to correct the perception of persecution by putting in place both judicial and administrative processes of ensuring the release of Mr Agba Jalingo from detention.
“Our concern is that the government should demonstrate that it is only interested in the lawful prosecution and not persecution of Mr. Agba Jalingo. We, therefore, request that the Honourable Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation should use his good offices and secure the release of Mr Agba Jalingo as quickly as possible,” the NLC president wrote.
The Cross River government Friday took over the prosecution of Mr Jalingo’s case from the Nigerian police.
The detained journalist is scheduled to appear on Friday before a new judge, Justice Justice Sule Shuaibu who is the administrative judge of the Federal High Court Calabar.
Amnesty International on Thursday accused Nigerian government and Cross River state government of manipulating the criminal justice system in order to keep Mr Jalingo behind bars.
The human right group said Mr Jalingo’s detention, besides being a stain on Nigeria’s image, “shows just how far (Nigerian) authorities can go to silence critics.”
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has joined the growing number of groups that have called on the Nigerian government to free the detained Nigerian journalist, Agba Jalingo, from prison. The union in a letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said the travails of Mr Jalingo appear to be “persecution and not prosecution.” […]
The human right group said Mr Jalingo’s detention, besides being a stain on Nigeria’s image, “shows just how far (Nigerian) authorities can go to silence critics.” Mr Jalingo, the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, was arrested on August 22, 2019, over a report alleging that Cross River governor, Ben Ayade, diverted N500 million belonging to the state. […]
A journalist, Maxwell Nashan, said to be preparing for his wedding has been hacked to death in a bush on the outskirts of Vunokilan, Girei Local Government Area of Adamawa State. Penpushing reports that the journalist who worked with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) was said to have been picked by his assailants […]
Somalia’s Western-backed government forces beat and detained a record number of journalists in 2019, the journalists’ syndicate told Reuters on Friday. The detainment has prompted suggestions that the government is suppressing scrutiny of its security record ahead of elections due this year. For years, the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab insurgency was accused of killing Somali journalists. […]
The Department of State Services has finally complied with the court orders directing it to release the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, from custody. Omoyele’s release came a few hours after the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), said in a statement on Tuesday that he had issued […]
The ongoing detentions of Nigerian publisher Agba Jalingo and Ethiopian editor Fekadu Mahtemework–the only journalists behind bars for their work in their countries, according to CPJ’s latest prison census–don’t tell the whole story of their governments’ crackdowns on freedom of expression. Investigations throughout 2019 to compile CPJ’s list of 250 journalists imprisoned in connection with […]
The wife of detained activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, in a press briefing in the U.S. on Friday said she is afraid for her husband’s life. She also said she fears that her husband, who was rearrested when security officials invaded a court premises in Abuja, might be in great danger unless […]
Nigerian journalist, Agba Jalingo, who is charged with treason after criticising the state governor, has vowed not to “bow to force”. Mr Jalingo, the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, was arrested on August 22 over a report alleging that the governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, diverted N500 million belonging to the state. He is remanded […]
Thugs suspected to belong one of the political parties in the Governorship and National Assembly elections in Kogi State on Saturday attacked two journalists. The journalists, Sam Egwu of the Leadership newspapers and Sunday Omachi of Radio Kogi, were attacked at Ayangba area of the state. Both journalists were on election duty when they were […]
Photos have emerged of Nigerian journalists brutalised by armed officers of the State Security Service during a protest in Abuja on Tuesday. The journalists were covering a demonstration demanding the release Omoyele Sowore of Sahara Reporters by the SSS, which has kept Mr Sowore despite a court-ordered bail. Mr Sowore is facing charges of treason, […]