… Demands Police apologize to him, family, staff
The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, RULAAC has received with shock the news of the police siege on the Lagos home of publisher Agba Jalingo on Friday during which his wife and daughter were reportedly taken hostage.
Similarly, his office in Calabar, Cross River State was also reportedly besieged and his staff held hostage by unknown persons.
A statement by the Executive Director, RULAAC, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma in Lagos on Saturday observed that while those who besieged his office in Calabar took flight upon sighting the Police and the State Security Services (SSS) operatives who arrived upon being alerted by Agba Jalingo’s staff, he was eventually arrested by Police officers in Lagos after he demanded and was informed that he was being arrested for alleged defamation of character of the wife of Frank Ayade, the brother of the Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade.
Nwanguma wondered what the motive of those who besieged his office in Calabar was since they didn’t appear to be Police officers and took flight upon sighting security agents.
He revealed that RULAAC had spoken with sources close to Agba Jalingo who revealed that no invitation was extended to him by the Police to report to the station before they besieged his house in such gestapo fashion.
“Sometime in August 2019, Agba was seized by Intelligence Response Team (IRT) operatives in his Lagos home and put in the booth of their vehicle and driven for 25 hours to Calabar where he was detained for several weeks before being charged to court and remanded in prison for treason because he wrote a critical piece exposing alleged corruption by the Cross River State governor Ben Ayade. He was cleared several months later of all the charges by the High Court.
“Nearly three years after, Agba is being arrested again, this time, at the behest of Governor Ben Ayade’s brother, Frank Ayade. The allegation of defamation should not warrant such high-handed, expeditionary and dramatic police action. The courts are there to adjudicate and determine whether an act is defamatory or otherwise”, submitted.
The Executive Director cautioned that Police should avoid portraying themselves as available for hire by politicians or other persons of influence to be used to settle scores. It is not helping the battered image of the police .
“RULAAC calls for the immediate release of Agba Jalingo and apologies to him, his family and staff members for violently violating their rights to liberty, freedom of movement and dignity which are guaranteed as inviolable under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Nigeria Police must at all times be guided in their actions by law, integrity and civility”, he concluded.
Photo: Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director, RULAAC.
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