National Human Right Commission By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja Civil Society Organisations, Monday, called on National Human Rights Commission, NHRC and the United States of America, USA, to prevail on the Cross River State Government over detention of two journalists, Agba Jalingo and Joseph Odok. READ ALSO: CSOs calls on EFCC to investigate Tinubu over alleged money conveyed in bullion vans
This was contained in a petition signed by the Convener, Concerned Nigerians, CN, Prince Deji Adeyanju; Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, CDNDC, Ariyo-Dare Atoye; and Convener, Free Nigeria Movement, FNM, Adebayo Raphael, to the Executive Secretary, NHRC, and Ambassador to the United States of America to Nigeria titled, ‘Persecution, Illegal Arrests and Illegal Detention of Activists and Journalists by the Governor of Cross Rivers State’ and ‘Call for Visa Ban on Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade’ respectively.
They described the alleged actions by the Government of Cross River as acts of impunity and repression.
According to the CSOs Agba Jalingo is a renowned Cross Rivers State journalist and activist who was unjustly arrested on August 22, 2019 for “criticising Governor Ayade” that led to his detention.READ ALSO: CSO condemns alleged plan to arrest, charge Soyombo
It also added that another activist cum blogger named Joseph Odok has been arrested and detained arbitrarily since September 26, 2019 on the order of the Cross Rivers State government and has now been charged with terrorism for publishing a post on Facebook.
The CSOs also in the petition alleged that there is growing clampdown on press freedom and freedom of expression in Cross Rivers State, hence the NHRC should commence investigation.
The statement reads in part, “We are a civil society organization that prioritizes human rights and good governance in Nigeria. We have consistently taken a stance against the myriad violations of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerians by unscrupulous individuals and public institutions.
It is an unambiguous fact that the National Human Rights Commission, by virtue of the National Human Rights Act of 1995 (as amended in 2010), is saddled with the responsibility of promoting and protecting all human rights in Nigeria.
“It is on this basis that we write to petition the commission to commence an investigation into the growing clampdown on press freedom and freedom of expression in Cross Rivers State, Nigeria. Specifically, we wish to ask the commission to join Nigerians in resisting and ending the persecution of Agba Jalingo and Joseph Odok by the Cross Rivers State government of Governor Ben Ayade.
“Agba Jalingo is a renowned Cross Rivers State Journalist and Activist who was unjustly arrested on August 22, 2019, for criticising Governor Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State and has since been in detention for same.