The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center (RULAAC) has berated the siege laid on the residence of Agba Jalingo, in Calabar, Cross River State, and his Lagos office.
According to a press release by RULAAC, yesterday, unknown men in mufti invaded the publisher’s home in Lagos, on Friday, August 19, 2022, during which his wife and daughter were allegedly taken hostage.
The Executive Director of RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma, expressed utter shock over the report.
He said: “His office in Calabar, Cross River State, was besieged and his staff held hostage by unknown persons. While those who besieged his office in Calabar took flight upon sighting policemen and State Security Service (SSS) operatives (who arrived upon being alerted by Jalingo’s staff), he was eventually arrested by police officers in Lagos for alleged defamation of character of the wife of Frank Ayade, brother to Governor Ben Ayade.
“Who knows the motive of those who besieged his office in Calabar, since they didn’t appear to be police officers and took flight upon sighting security agents?”
Nwanguma noted that has spoken with sources close to the publisher, who disclosed that he was never first invited by the police before they invaded his house in such Gestapo fashion.
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, who, yesterday, requested for Jalingo’s immediate release, disclosed that he met up with Jalingo, at Area F Police Command, Ikeja, Lagos State, emphasized that, “based on the information at my disposal, I was compelled to demand for his unconditional release since he has not contravened any provision of the Criminal Code. But the police officers informed me that his detention was ordered by the authorities in Abuja. Thus, at about 11 am this morning he was flown out of Lagos and he is currently being detained at the Criminal Investigation Department, Garki, Abuja.”
In a press release, Falana said: “Since defamation is not a criminal offense the action of the Police is a flagrant breach of section 8(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and section 32(2) of the Police Establishment Act 2020, which have banned the police from arresting any person in Nigeria for civil wrong or breach of contract. Therefore, the police authorities should release Agba Jalingo unconditionally and advise the petitioner to sue for libel in a civil court.