Press Release – Agba Jalingo Trial: IPC condemns handling, restates call for release

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For immediate release

February 6, 2020

The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos has condemned in strong terms the failure of the Nigerian Correctional Service to produce Agba Jalingo in Court for resumption of his trial in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.

Jalingo, who has been in detention for 134 days, is facing trial for terrorism and treason.

Media Reports from the Nation Online detailed that Jalingo’s case was scheduled for appearance on Wednesday February 5 2020, but his absence in court forced the adjournment till Friday, February 7, 2020. In addition, the report stated that a lawyer in his defense team, James Ibor, said the failure to bring Jalingo, currently charged with terrorism and cybercrime, to court was due to an administrative issue as his production warrant was not signed.

IPC Executive Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, in a statement said the failure to produce Jalingo in court constituted an attempt to unfairly delay his trial, which is unacceptable.

According to him, the terrorism charges against the Journalist were and still merely meant to punish him for raising accountability issues against the Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade. 

Mr. Arogundade therefore said that on the basis of the facts of the matter and the preponderance of public opinion, there is actually no reason to continue with the trial of the Journalist. “We therefore call on the Attorney General of the Federation to immediately discontinue the case” he said.

Decries Molestation of Journalists in Abuja

IPC has also condemned the arrests of Journalists Pricilla Ajeshola, Jacob Orji, Abayomi Adedoyin, Peggy Shande, and David Gold Enemingin employees of The Nigerian News Group, who were detained and paraded by the FCT Police Command on Saturday for allegedly attempting to cause panic in the nation’s capital while doing a story on the Lassa and Coronavirus outbreak.

The Executive Director IPC said once they were confirmed and identified as journalists, the police should have exercised discretion by initiating discussion with their employers or the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) rather than the unnecessarily and embarrassingly parading them.

Mr. Arogundade however called on Journalists to approach the reporting of sensitive issues like the outbreak of Lassa fever and Coronavirus with greater caution and more professionalism.

SGD:

Olutoyin Ayoade

Communications Officer

International Press Centre, Lagos

tayoade@ipcng.org

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