A Former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani has faulted Cross Rivers State Governor, Ben Ayade’s claims over the detention of a journalist, Agba Jalingo.
Ayade on Monday denied having hands in Jalingo’s arrest, saying that he is also making efforts to ensure his (Jalingo) release.
“If you ask Agba Jalingo today, I am the one working with his lawyers for his freedom, I am the one sustaining him and sending upkeeps.
He added: “You are seeing him as a journalist, but he’s not, he’s the chairman of Sowore’s party in Cross River State so he’s a politician.
“He’s in court for treason, a state does not have the power to try anyone for treason, it’s not me.”
Pointing out the flaws in Ayade’s statement, Ubani in an opinion piece, asked the governor questions, part of which reads: “So the Federal offence of treasonable felony against President Buhari is being handled by the CP of Cross River State at the instructions of who in Cross River State?
“Such federal offence against President Buhari who sits in Abuja is being handled in Cross River State by the Police Authority in Cross River upon what criminal jurisprudence? Going by your account Agba Jalingo was tear-gassed during #RevolutionNow at Cross River State or was it not in Lagos?
“One of the charges both old and amended against Agba Jalingo is his alleged attempt to overthrow your government, please where was President Buhari mentioned in the old charge against Agba Jalingo? So to rope in the President, the police amended the charge to bring in the presidency that was never a charge in the old? Just hoping that the presidency will disown this reprehensible allegation that has no basis in fact and law.
“You allege sustaining Agba Jalingo financially while he is detained, the members of the public including my humble self will like to know who you are giving the said money to, to Agba directly or to Jonathan of Cross River Watch who I know to be the one catering for Agba Jalingo while he is detained? If you have given any money as alleged, please could you make public the alleged amount you have spent so far for Agba Jalingo’s upkeep?
“You alleged to be working with Agba Jalingo’s legal team to have him released from the illegal detention he has been subjected to. May I ask, which of the lawyers are you working with for this ‘altruistic gesture’ to have Agba released from detention?”
The former NBA Voce President called on the governor to “remove the ‘hand of monkey’ from soup before it turns out to be the hand of a human being and ensure the release of Jalingo forthwith from illegal detention.”
Jalingo is the publisher of Cross RiverWatch. He was arrested on August 22 over a report suggesting that Ayade diverted N500 million belonging to the state, a claim which the government has denied.