Lagos: Falana Demands Release Of Agba Jalingo As Detained Journalist Is Flown To Abuja - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Saturday, August 20, 2022

Lagos: Falana Demands Release Of Agba Jalingo As Detained Journalist Is Flown To Abuja



Since defamation is not a criminal offence 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

The Daily Crucible | Saturday, August 20, 2022

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN,  has called for unconditional release of Agba Jalingo, an activist journalist and publisher of CrossRiverWatch, a Cross River State based newspaper.

Falana who condemned the alleged    ongoing police harassment of Agba on the allegation that he defamed the wife of the brother of a serving Governor, said the action of the Nigerian Police constituted the height of official impunity in a democratic society.

The Lagos lawyer who recalled how the police laid seige at Agba Jalingo's Lagos residence on Friday where the operatives harrased Agba's wife and children for hours before they arrested him. 

The police later took him to Area F Police Command, Ikeja, Lagos State where he was detained until this Saturday morning.

According to him, the journalist cum publisher was about 11 am this morning flown out of Lagos and is currently being detained at the Criminal Investigation Department, Garki, Abuja. 

"Yesterday, a team of the police personnel despatched from Abuja stormed the home of Agba Jalingo at Alapere, Ketu in Lagos State to arrest him. After subjecting his wife and children to unwarranted harassment for hours, the police arrested Agba, yanked him out and took him to the Area F Police Command, Ikeja, Lagos State where he was detained until this morning.

"I met him at the police station where he informed me that he committed no offence but that his newspaper, CrossRiverWatch had only asked why a lecturer who wrote examinations for a student in the Nigerian Law School, Abuja has been arraigned in court while the student is being treated like a sacred cow.

The police officers corroborated his  account and stated that the petitioner had alleged that Agba Jalingo had committed "defamation and infringement of his integrity,"  which is not an offence under any provision of the Criminal Code. 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. 

"The ongoing harassment of Agba based on the allegation that he has defamed the wife of the brother of a serving Governor is the height of official impunity in a democratic society. Since defamation is not a criminal offence 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," Falana stated in a release seen by The Daily Crucible.


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