IPC, ACROJ Demands Release of Publisher

IPC, ACROJ Demands Release of Publisher

…Decry Increasing Harassment, Intimidation of Journalists, Curtailment of Freedom of Expression The International Press Center (IPC), Lagos, one of the country’s leading media advocacy groups and the Association of Cross River Online Journalists (ACROJ), have demanded the immediate release of the Publisher, CrossRiverWatch who was arrested last week. They also denounced the growing crackdown on

…Decry Increasing Harassment, Intimidation of Journalists, Curtailment of Freedom of Expression

The International Press Center (IPC), Lagos, one of the country’s leading media advocacy groups and the Association of Cross River Online Journalists (ACROJ), have demanded the immediate release of the Publisher, CrossRiverWatch who was arrested last week.

They also denounced the growing crackdown on freedom of expression arising from the continued harassment and molestation of journalists and the media by security agencies across the country 

In a press release by The Association of Cross River Online Journalists – ACROJ dated August 22, 2019, Mr. Agba Jalingo, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of CrossRiverWatch was said to have been “criminally whisked away” from Lagos to Calabar over recent invitation extended to him by the police command in the state over a publication about the Cross River State Microfinance bank, a matter which both parties agreed to meet on Monday August 26, 2019.

IPC Director, Mr Lanre Arogundade in a statement condemned the arrest, noting that detaining reporters for doing their job of informing the public is an abuse of power and a violation of their human rights.

He also condemned the fact that Mr Jalingo has been held for more than forty –eight hours without being charged to court

While calling for his immediate release, the IPC said, “in the alternative he should be charged to court to enable him defend the allegations against him.”

ACROJ Chairman, Mr Edem Darlington in an earlier press statement had narrated the circumstances of the publisher’s arrest. “At about 4:25pm today, (22/08/2019), men of the Nigerian Police identified as Intelligence Response Team (IRT), in a commando style, invaded the privacy of one of us, Mr. Agba Jalingo, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of CrossRiverWatch and criminally whisked him away.

“We have been reliably informed that they have concluded plans to move him to Calabar by road.

“We are aware that this is not unconnected with the recent invitation extended to him by the Police Command in the State over a publication about the Cross River State Microfinance bank, a matter which both parties agreed to meet on Monday August 26, 2019.

“It is worrisome that while the Police in the State agreed to Mr. Jalingo’s request to meet on 26/08/2019, they still went ahead and facilitated his illegal arrest in Lagos three days before the date he agreed to honour their invitation.

“The Association of Cross River Online Journalists – ACROJ strongly condemn this gestapo and undemocratic manner employed by the Police to intimidate and stampede journalists back into the dark era.

“We will employ every legal means possible to resist this kind of intimidation and harassment by certain undemocratic elements masquerading in democratic toga.

“While we call on the Inspector General of Police to beam his search light into the level of harassment, intimidation and rampant illegal detention of journalists going on in Cross River State, we also wish to inform the IGP to ensure that nothing happens to Mr. Jalingo.

“Finally, we will ensure we collaborate with all our international partners, press freedom lovers and supporters all over the world to draw attention to the level of violation of human rights and freedom of the press in the State.

“The power of the pen is mightier than the sword and must prevail above the wishes of a few greedy, ACROJ said.

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