Police Arrest, Detain Publisher for Demanding Financial Accountability

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Mr. Agba Jalingo, Publisher of Cross River Watch
Mr. Agba Jalingo, Publisher of Cross River Watch

On August 22, 2019, a team of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police arrested Mr. Agba Jalingo, publisher of Cross River Watch, an online news portal from his home in Lagos. They took him to SARS office in Ikoyi, Lagos State and on August 23, they transferred him to a detention facility meant for detaining suspected cultists and kidnappers in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

The publisher was arrested and is being detained over a petition against his portal by a microfinance bank in Calabar which accused the medium of attempt to cause a breach of the peace.

Cross River Watch had published a story on July 17 saying that a microfinance bank which was supposed to have been established following the announcement by the Cross River State governor, Benedict Ayade, of the allocation of N500 million for its establishment was not functional several months after; that no activity was going on at the bank.

Agba was invited by the Police in Cross River while he was out of the State and asked to report for questioning on August 19. In the invitation, the Police accused him of “conspiracy to cause unrest” and “conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.” In his response, Agba informed the police he would honor the invitation when he returned to Cross River state on August 26. He was however not allowed to return before he was arrested in Lagos.

When contacted, Governor Ayade’s spokesperson, Christian Ita, said Agba was arrested over his alleged involvement in the August 5 #RevolutionNow protests.

As at the end of August 2019, SARS continued to detain Agba without charging him to court.