Nigerian Journalist Charged With Treason For Criticising Governor Ayade

Journalist, Agba Jalingo, has been charged with treason over a report about alleged diversion of N500 million by Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade.

Mr Jalingo, publisher of CrossRiverWatch newspaper based in Cross River, has been in police detention for more than a week after his arrest in Lagos.

Cross River Micro Finance had petitioned the police over a report in Jalingo’s newspaper alleging that Ayade approved and diverted N500 million for the government-owned microfinance bank.

Jalingo had sued the police over his arrest and detention, which he said were illegal and a breach of his fundamental human rights.

He wants the court to order the police to pay him N150 million as damages for the manner he was allegedly maltreated.

Police, however, have now instituted a four-count charge of treasonable felony, terrorism, cultism, and the disturbance of public peace on the journalist at the Federal High Court in Calabar.

Police alleged that Jalingo was working with the #RevolutionNow movement to destabilise the government and ‘undemocratically’ force Ayade’s government out through violent means.The first count of the suit filed on August 30.

According to the charge, the alleged offence was in breach of Section 59 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, 2004.

Jalingo was also accused of working with the detained convener of #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore, and Ekanem Ekpo, and others at large of terrorism.

Jalingo’s counsel, Monday Ubani, in a statement on Saturday, demanded that his client be released immediately and without conditions.

Mr Ubani said the police intend to use the excuse that courts are on vacation to further detain his client.

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