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Security operatives have arrested three journalists and a leading human rights lawyer, James Ibor, over the June 12 protests in Calabar, Cross River State capital.
Agba Jalingo, Publisher of Cross River Watch online newspaper, his news editor, Jonathan Ugbal, and a yet to be named reporter were picked up in front of the office of the outfit near the popular Rabana junction in Calabar.
Governor Ben Ayade had earlier warned warned that he would not tolerate any forms of protest or procession in the state.
He had said such move would be met with force.
A day before, Jalingo who was earlier imprisoned for nearly a year, over the alleged attempt to topple Ayade’s government, was detained by the police on allegation of gun running.
On June 12, he and others were arrested and taken to the state police headquarters at Diamond Hill, Calabar, where they were detained from 9am to 3pm before they were released on bail.
Before the arrest of rights lawyer James Ibor, police had ransacked his law office on Kings Street Calabar where his staff were threatened.
When journalists called the commissioner of police in the State, Sikiru Kayode Akande, he said he would speak on the matter later.
A former attorney-general and commissioner for justice in the state, who is counsel to the four rights campaigners, Barrister Attah Ochinke, said, “I can confirm that the four Comrades have been granted bail and released from Puff Adder custody.”
In the meantime, the Managing Editor of Cross River Watch, Jeremiah Archibong, confirmed to newsmen – he said, the paper’s news editor, Jonathan Ugbal, as well as its lawyer, James Ibor, were also arrested.
“They shot teargas three times at us, it was just within the office. We didn’t even step on the road, they just came with over seven Hilux.
“We were in our (Cross River Watch) premises because that is where the police commissioner authorised us to protest,” Mr Archibong said.
The journalist said he, Mr Jalingo and others were sharing leaflets to passers-by when the police suddenly swooped on them, firing tear-gas.