A Coalition of Rights Group has called on the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, to intervene in the detention of Agba Jalingo, a journalist, and other activists in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states.PDP governors, Ben Ayade of Cross River and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom were accused of arresting and detaining journalists and activists, keeping them incommunicado for weeks.
Jalingo was being prosecuted in handcuffs on charges of treasonable felony and terrorism.The coalition, in a letter signed by Deji Adeyanju and addressed to Secondus, urged the PDP boss to direct both governors to drop all frivolous charges against all the prisoners of conscience in their respective states.
The letter reads: “We write to express our displeasure and condemn the insensitivity of your party, the PDP, on the rising intolerance and disturbing cases of human rights violations in some states where your party members presently hold sway. “It is unfortunate that as the leading opposition party, which regularly condemns the lawlessness of the ruling party at the centre, some of your governors, specifically Governors Ayade and Emmanuel, have chosen the odious path of intolerance while embarking on coercive campaigns of arrest and arbitrary detention of social critics and political activists, perceived as enemies for being critical of their governments.”
This act of executive tyranny, according to the group, is a gross violation of the fundamental rights of the victims as guaranteed under Sections 39 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution.“We make bold to say that the kitchen of leadership is not meant for those who cannot stand the test and heat of public criticism. At every level, leaders must develop the capacity to respond to criticisms with facts and figures to set the records straight
“Agba Jalingo, a journalist who was arrested, kept incommunicado for weeks, and is now being prosecuted in handcuffs on charges of treasonable felony, terrorism and attempt to topple the Cross River government, after 34 days in police custody, because he published a report exposing how Governor Ayade approved and immediately diverted N500 million meant for Cross River State Microfinance Bank.”
“Again, Michael Itok, a 21-year-old marketer with Prudential Microfinance Bank, Uyo, has been arrested and remanded in prison custody for weeks on the order of Governor Emmanuel for allegedly publishing ‘damaging and annoying’ articles on Facebook against the governor.”The Guardian gathered that Itok was on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, arraigned before a magistrate court in Uyo, by the State Security Service (SSS). He was accused of writing numerous articles against the Akwa Ibom governor and other officials of the state government.