The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre has decried the unlawful siege and detention of Nigerian journalist, Agba Jalingo, by the Nigeria Police Force.
The group in a release signed by the Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma, on Saturday, stated that an allegation of defamation is not enough reason to justify the manner and way in which the operatives of the Nigerian Police invaded his residence and held him in detention.
RULAAC, therefore, urged the Nigerian Police to release Agba Jalingo immediately to allow the court of law to resolve the matter accordingly.
Part of the statement read, “The news of the police siege on the Lagos home of publisher Agba Jalingo on Friday, August 19, 2022, during which his wife and daughter were reportedly taken hostage came to RULAAC with utter shock.
“Simultaneously, his office in Calabar, Cross River State was also besieged and his staff held hostage by unknown persons.
“While those who besieged his office in Calabar took flight upon sighting 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.”
“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.
“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.” It added.
The PUNCH had reported how the Cross River activist and journalist, Agba Jalingo, announced on Friday afternoon that his Lagos residence was under siege by policemen, and later detained at Alapere Police Station, Lagos.
The wife of the activist, Violet Agba, also confirmed that the police planned to transfer the activist to Abuja on Saturday.