Human Rights group, Amnesty International, has said that the Nigerian and Cross River State governments were manipulating the criminal justice system to repress dissenting voices in violation of the 1999 constitution as amended as well as international and regional human rights treaties.
Amnesty International also said that the continued detention of Agba Jalingo, a journalist who risks a death sentence if convicted for four charges bordering on terrorism and cybercrime preferred against him, was a “stain on the image of Nigeria.”
“While Agba Jalingo is detained for his critical opinions, both Cross River and Federal governments are collaborating through the manipulation of the criminal justice system to keep him behind bars,” said Amnesty International’s media manager, Sanusi Isa, during a press conference on Thursday in Calabar.
Isa described the collaboration as “unfortunate,” and noted that, “Cross River State is fast becoming a den of repression because more people are getting arrested for expressing their opinions”.
The rights group said; “The Cross River State authorities must stop the repression. The authorities must respect, protect, promote and ensure the right to freedom of expression and media freedom.
“Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari must stop filing bogus and politically motivated charges against critics and start listening to what they have to say.
“The case of Agba Jalingo is just one of many cases of blatant violations of the right to freedom of expression and media freedom in Cross River State and several parts of Nigeria.
“Joseph Odok was also unlawfully detained and later charged with terrorism solely for expressing critical opinion on social media.”
The rights group said it was also concerned that Jalingo’s trial “falls short of International standards of fairness, especially because the court had allowed witnesses to be masked and the trial to be held in secret.”
While calling for an end to the “sham trial” and “the flawed charges” to be dropped; Amnesty said it will continue to “push for Agba Jalingo’s immediate and unconditional release and work with other NGOs to hold the Cross River State authorities to account for the increasing assault on human rights.”
The rights group had on November 20, 2019 declared Jalingo alongside #RevolutionNow convener, Omoyele Sowore, and Olawale Bakare as prisoners of conscience shortly after the #OneFreePressCoalition listed him at number 9 of 10 ‘Most Urgent’ cases of threats to press freedom around the world.
Jalingo was arrested in his Lagos residence on August 22, 2019 despite repeated statements that he will honour a police invitation bordering on his article published in July where he demanded the whereabouts of the N500m approved and released by the Cross River State Government for the floating of Cross River Microfinance Bank.
He was then ferried to Calabar by road in what colleagues and family describe as a tortuous 25-hour journey where he arrived on the 24th.
He will then spend 32 days detained at a police black site facility where he collapsed twice due to ill health before being arraigned on initial charges of treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and attempt to topple the Cross River State Government on September 25, 2019.
Justice Simon Amobeda then remanded him at the Calabar prisons where he has spent 134 days so far after being denied bail twice.
Cross River governor, Benedict Ayade, has been fingered as being behind his ordeal, an allegation the governor and his aides denied.
Ayade had also accused Jalingo of blackmail in a recent chat with journalists, an allegation he later retracted and apologised claiming he got his facts wrong.
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Don’t Leave Nigeria To Those Messing Up The Country, Obasanjo Begs Nigerian Youths As He Offers Free Keke Ride
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, was behind the wheels of a tricycle (Keke) on Saturday.
Obj, as fondly called, rode through some roads in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun, to pick passengers.
The sight caught the attention of many who cheered the former Head of State and also took photos.
The elder statesman, who offered rides to citizens, moved through Moshood Abiola, NNPC Mega Station, Kuto Market, among others.
The activity was part of OBJ @ 85 Free Keke Programme of the Youth Development Centre of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).
In his remarks, Obasanjo appealed to the youths not to leave Nigeria to those messing it up.
The ex-leader said despite the challenges, they should try to take advantage of available opportunities to make an impact.
“Things are not what they should be but youths, individually and collectively, must make contributions in order to make things the way they should be.
“If you leave things to those who are messing it up for you and who are saying you are the leaders of tomorrow, you will never have that tomorrow.
“God has given you innate ability to be what He wants you to be. If you make up your mind, God will help you and provide people who would help you”, he added.
1,787 total views, 1,309 views today
We Must Fix Nigeria, Stop Europe-Bound Migrants Through Desert – Shettima
Former Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, has decried the migration of Nigerians to European countries for greener pastures through Libya.
The PUNCH reports that no fewer than 774 stranded Nigerians have been repatriated from Libya between August ,2021 and June 1, 2022.
But Shettima believed that the country must be fixed to put a stop to migration of citizens crossing through the desert from Nigeria to Libya with the hope of getting to Europe.
He spoke at the investiture ceremony of the Managing Editor, Northern Operations of The Nation newspapers, Yusuf Ali, as the 11th president of the Rotary club of Abuja, Maitama.
Shettima, however, called for the unity of Nigerians to overcome the challenges bedeviling the country.
He said, “We have to make this country work. Nigerians would not need to go through Libya to get to Europe for survival. I believe if we are united Nigeria will survive and that is why I am proud of the Rotary club.”
Shettima also urged Nigerians to dedicate their lives to service to humanity, adding that ‘individualism, and worship of money’ were making life unpleasant in the country.
He said, “Every lifetime, that has been dedicated to professional excellence and community good, represents the type of life, that we must valorise, especially given how much we have become swamped, by an inordinate worship of the cult of money; individualism, and a crass materialism, that has increasingly made life so nasty, brutish and short, in our country, to borrow the words of the Political Philosopher, Thomas Hobbes.”
When asked about the jostle for the vice presidential candidate of the APC, Shettima declined comment.
He said, ” This is a non partisan event it will be an insult to make a political comment here. At the appropriate time we will talk politics.”
In his remarks, Ali called on the government to ensure Nigerians have access to basic infrastructures.
He warned that failure to do this would spell doom for the nation.
Ali said, “Unless all Nigerians have access to basic needs, we won’t be able to make it as a nation. We have abundant human resources but our souls are weak and malfunctioning.”
1,206 total views, 956 views today
Shun Grievances, Work For APC In 2023, Amaechi Tells Supporters
The immediate past Transport Minister, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, has directed his supporters in Rivers State to set aside their anger and work for the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023.
Amaechi, a former governor of the state, spoke on Saturday, when thousands of APC supporters trooped out in Port Harcourt to give him grand reception after the Presidential primary election.
The former minister, who came second at the primary poll, was received by party enthusiasts, who followed him from the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to the APC state secretariat in Port Harcourt.
Amaechi, who vowed to stay in Rivers and ensure the victory of APC, appealed to his supporters to return to their various units and work for the APC in 2023.
He said: “Please, in the contest for the presidency, we should know that we must go and vote for our party, no matter how angry you are, they have chosen, let’s go and vote for our party.
“For the stories you hear about the people who are gossiping how they are having meetings in France, let this be your own France. Vote for your party, don’t be afraid, just go home and do your work.
“Don’t be afraid, go home and work, that’s why I came, I came to thank you, I came to urge you to go home and work, let all of us be unit leaders, no more local government leaders, ward leaders.
“If you check in INEC, they are no longer announcing ward results, they are announcing unit results. So let go home and win our units and bring our units home.
“Those days of meeting, writing results have all gone, we must praise INEC, praise the National Assembly for reducing the level of rigging, where people write results and INEC will just announce, now it is almost gone.”
In his remarks, the state APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole, assured supporters that the APC would be on the ballot in 2023.
He said: “My mission here is three-fold, one to reassure you that we will be on the ballot, number two, that there is no court case that we will lose because God is on our side, number three, we have won already.
“Why have we won? Because at the grassroots, we are number one, number two, on every ballot, we are number one, number three, we serve a God that is number one.”
1,202 total views, 952 views today
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