Police arrest journalists at #RevolutionNow protest in Calabar

The protest in one of the states
The protest in one of the states

Three journalists who covered the #RevolutionNow protest in Calabar have been arrested by the police.

The police accused the journalists of being members of the ‘RevolutionNow’ movement and took them into custody after brutalising them, according to journalist Agba Jalingo who alerted PREMIUM TIMES of the crackdown.

Nicholas Kalu of The Nation, Jeremiah Achibong of CrossRiverWatch and Jonathan Ugbal of CrossRiverWatch have all remained in custody since Monday morning.

There were indications they might be charged on Monday, although the specific charges were not immediately learnt.

Mr Jalingo, the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, told PREMIUM TIMES Mr Achibong, the paper’s managing editor, was arrested when he turned up at the police station to bail Mr Ugbal, who had been earlier arrested.

“This is a violent and illegal crackdown on journalists,” Mr Jalingo said by telephone Monday night.

Cross River police commissioner, Austin Agbonlahor, was entirely evasive when reached for comments about the journalists’ arrest Monday night.

The three journalists’ ordeal comes as many media practitioners and rights activists were violently assaulted or arrested during the protests in many states on Monday.

President Muhammadu Buhari argued that a revolution is inherently violent and treasonous, a statement that appears to have encouraged security agencies to unleash violence on citizens caught showing support for a revolution.

On Saturday, state agents violently breached the residence of activist Omoyele Sowore in Lagos and arrested him for championing the call for fundamental reforms that would engender economic growth, peace and security for citizens.

Journalists have also been reportedly arrested in Lagos, Kaduna and Ondo for daring to cover the ‘RevolutionNow’ protests.

The Nigerian presidency said in a statement that the planned protest could result in the overthrow of the nation’s government and should not be allowed to hold. The administration said elections remained the only legitimate way to change governments in Nigeria.

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