Falana demands release of detained journalist

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana has demanded Agba Jalingo’s “unconditional release”. The journalist was arrested on Friday at his Lagos residence in Alapere, Ketu, by Abuja police officers. “The police have surrounded my house,” he had said through his Facebook page on Friday. Falana said in a statement Saturday that prior to Jalingo’s arrest, his family was subject to “unjustified harassment for hours…” “Agba’s continued harassment based on the accusation that it has defamed the wife of a sitting governor’s brother is the height of official impunity in a democratic society,” the statement read. “As libel is not a criminal offence, the Police action is in flagrant violation of section 8(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and section 32(2) of the Establishment of Criminal Justice Act. 2020 police who have prohibited police from arresting anyone in Nigeria for civil offense or breach of contract. “Therefore, the police authorities should unconditionally release Agba Jalingo and advise the petitioner to file a defamation suit in a civil court.” Reason Falana said that he met with the journalist at the police station where he informed him that “he did not commit any crime but that his newspaper, CrossRiverClock I had only asked why a professor who wrote exams for a student at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja, was prosecuted in court while the student is treated like a sacred cow.” “The police officers corroborated his account and stated that the petitioner had alleged that Agba Jalingo had committed ‘defamation and attack on his integrity’, which is not an offense under any provision of the Penal Code. “Based on the information at my disposal, I was forced to demand his unconditional release since he (has) not contravened any provision of the Penal Code. “But the policemen informed me that his arrest was ordered by the Abuja authorities. Therefore, at around 11am this morning, he was taken out of Lagos and he is currently detained at the Criminal Investigation Department, Garki, Abuja”. The publisher of Cross-River Watch has a long battle with the authorities. In August 2019, he was arrested for accusing Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade of siphoning off 500 million naira belonging to the state. He was charged with terrorism, felony treason and cybercrime, and jailed for some 179 days, despite worldwide outrage against the action. In July 2021, the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja ordered the federal government to pay the publisher 30 million naira as compensation for ill-treatment and torture suffered during his detention. In March 2022, a Federal High Court in Calabar dismissed terrorism, felony treason and cybercrime charges against him. Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; Falana demands release of detained journalist