My husband charged for exposing graft – Wife of detained journalist

CrossRiverWatch publisher and journalist, Agba Jalingo. [PHOTO CREDIT: Crossriverwatch.com]
CrossRiverWatch publisher and journalist, Agba Jalingo. [PHOTO CREDIT: Crossriverwatch.com]

Wife of detained Nigerian journalist, Agba Jalingo, said her husband was charged to court for exposing corruption in Cross River State.

Mr Jalingo, the publisher of the online CrossRiverWatch, has been in prison for weeks in Calabar.

He was charged with treason over a report about an alleged diversion of N500 million by the Cross River governor, Ben Ayade.

He was arrested in Lagos by operatives of the Intelligence Response Team of the Nigerian Police Force on August 22, and moved to Calabar.

He was arraigned before a Federal High Court on September 25 on a four-count charge of treasonable felony, terrorism and attempt to topple the Cross River State Government.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge

On October 4, the bail application filed by Mr Jalingo was refused by a Federal High Court in Calabar, Cross River State, presided over by Simon Amobeda.

The court ordered that he be remanded in prison custody pending the conclusion of his trial and determination of the charge brought against him by the prosecution.

Harassed for truth?

Mrs Jalingo, while speaking at the launch of a report organised by the Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project in conjunction with the National Endowment For Democracy, in Lagos, on Wednesday, expressed worry over the detention of her husband.

She appealed to the authorities to release him.

She disclosed that her husband “was asked to deny his report and stop writing about the state so the charges filed against him can be withdrawn”.

PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately verify her claims.

She said: “I really want to plead with the right authorities to see to it. Agba Jalingo didn’t commit any crime or any act of terrorism, treason, felony for all what they have charged him for, he only exposed corruption in Cross River State.

“There is this state microfinance bank and they said they released N500 million to run the bank. My husband published an article exposing the corruption in that microfinance bank. In a nutshell, the state government didn’t like it and other people too didn’t like it and so he was picked up.

“When I went to visit him, he said they told him that he should say all what he wrote about the N500 million is false that he should stop publishing, saying anything about the state if he wants them to withdraw the charges.

“So they are just using that one to tie him down because ‘they’ know the judiciary, police, nobody will do anything but I know somebody will do something. Corruption and evil practices will not continue in this nation. Things will change and things must change.”

She said she would not relent until her spouse is freed.

“We voted for change. Nigerians were really hungry for change that is why everybody said we can’t continue like this. But it is like the change now backfired. But I believe Nigerians will still get the real change that we hungered for in 2015,” she said

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