Saturday, June 10, 2023

Cross River journalist, Agba Jalingo, sent to prison

He reported that Mr Aboh who took the contract was arrested and is currently facing charges but his partner in crime, Ms Ayade, continues to walk freely.

• March 27, 2023
Agba Jalingo
Agba Jalingo

Journalist and senior editor of Cross River watch, a sub-national publication, Agba Jalingo, was sent to prison on Monday by Justice Zainab Abubakar after refusing him the right to move a bail plea at the Abuja division of the Federal High Court

In an action that further reveals Nigeria’s pathetic press freedom record, Mr Jalingo was accused of insulting Elizabeth Ayade, an in-law of Governor Ben Ayade, in a publication where he detailed her criminal impersonation activities. 

Mr Jalingo had published an expose on how Mr Ayade’s In-law contracted a staff of the University of Calabar, Paschal Aboh, to impersonate a student of the Nigerian Law School. He reported that Mr Aboh who took the contract was arrested and is currently facing charges but his partner in crime, Ms Ayade, continues to walk freely. 

Ms Ayade responded to the story through her lawyers who described the publication as insulting, asking Mr Jalingo to publish a retraction and pay damages up to the tune of N500 million. Although the lawyers gave Mr Jalingo 14 days to respond to their demands, the period had not elapsed when Ms Ayade mobilised police operatives through a petition to his Lagos residence holding his wife and daughter hostage for hours. 

The matter first happened in August 2022 and since then, the Ayades have jostled for the most relevant legal charade under which the journalist could be persecuted which included dropping the initial allegation of criminal defamation and arraigning him for insulting the governor’s In-law and false publication. 

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/565/2022, the prosecutors argued that Mr Jalingo committed an offence punishable by Section 24 (1)b of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.

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