How Police Whisked Journalist, Agba Jalingo to Abuja over Frank Ayade

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Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has taken over a case involving the Nigeria Police Force and rights activist, Agba Jalingo.

The senior lawyer, it was learnt, visited Jalingo at the Area F Police Station in Ikeja where Jalingo was detained on Friday night.

The activist and publisher of Cross River Watch was, however, moved to Abuja on Saturday afternoon via the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Ikeja, the Lagos State capital.

A very senior police officer at the Force Criminal Investigative and Intelligence Department in Abuja ordered that Ayade be arrested and that he be moved down to Abuja.

Speaking with Channels Television in a telephone chat shortly after the flight, his wife, Mrs Jalingo, said “They have taken him (Jalingo) to Abuja.”

When asked what the policemen said Jalingo’s offence(s) was, his wife said, “Defamation of character and infringement of integrity on Frank Ayade’s wife, the younger brother to Cross River State, Governor Ben Ayade.”

When asked about the lawyer handling the matter, she disclosed that “Femi Falana (SAN) was in the station with us this morning and has sent his lawyers in Abuja to handle the case.”

The distraught wife of the activist, however, expressed worry, saying, “Everything is getting very difficult and scary and one will definitely be apprehensive.”

In the meantime, the Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos State, Benjamin Hundeyin, told newsmen that the case is not with the state command but the Force Headquarters. “They came from Abuja and they have taken him away. I don’t know the details,” he said.

But a senior police officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Channels Television that a very senior police officer in Abuja signed a letter and dispatched a team to arrest Jalingo.

Efforts to get the comments of Force Public Relations Officer Muyiwa Adejobi proved abortive as he was yet to respond to calls as of the time of publishing this report.

Policemen from Force Headquarters stormed Jalingo’s residence in the Alapere area of Lagos and whisked him to the Area F Police Station where he was detained overnight.

Jalingo, shortly before his arrest, had told Channels Television that the police officers surrounded his house and held down his wife and daughter.

The publisher of Cross River Watch was imprisoned in 2019 at the Afokang Prison in Calabar and was released on bail on February 17, 2020 after 179 days.

Jalingo, an associate of African Action Congress presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, had been arrested following an allegation of treason by the Cross River State Governor Benedict Ayade.

However, in March 2022, a Federal High Court in Calabar, dismissed the terrorism, treasonable felony, and cybercrime charges against Jalingo

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