Nigeria: SERAP drags Buhari government, Cross River to ECOWAS court over ‘sham trial of Agba Jalingo’

958FollowersFollow

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. We invite you to donate to our fundraiser to help us keep our quality news free and available to all.  

The Nigerian Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the government of Nigeria and Cross River state government of governor Ben Ayade to ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja “over the prolonged, arbitrary detention; unfair prosecution; persecution, and sham trial of journalist Agba Jalingo.”

Agba Jalingo

Jalingo, who is the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, was arrested on August 22 over a report alleging that Mr Ayade diverted N500 million belonging to the state.

In the suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/10/2020 filed last week at the ECOWAS Court, SERAP is arguing that: “The sole objective of the government of Nigeria and the Cross River state government of governor Ben Ayade is to perpetually keep Agba Jalingo in arbitrary detention and to silence him simply for expressing critical views and carrying out his legitimate job as journalist.”

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

According to the suit: “This is not the first time the government of Nigeria and the Cross River state government of governor Ben Ayade have taken actions to intimidate, harass and suppress journalists through the instrumentality of trumped-up charges and use of overly broad and unjust laws, including section 24 of Nigeria’s Cybercrime Act, 2015, which provides for the offence of cyber-stalking.”

The suit filed on SERAP’s behalf by its solicitor Kolawole Oluwadare, states: “the government of Nigeria and Cross-River state government are using vague laws that give officials massive discretion to undermine human rights. They are punishing Agba Jalingo and other journalists and silencing them for their reporting, thereby undermining Nigerians’ right to information, to public participation, to open and democratic governance in the country.”

The suit read, in part: “If freedom of expression and media freedom are to have true meaning in a democracy, these rights necessarily must include the freedom to criticize the government and its functionaries. Indeed, the idea of a democracy is that the people are encouraged to express their criticisms, even their wrong-headed criticisms, of elected government institutions, in the expectation that this process will improve the process of government.”

“The harassment, intimidation, unfair prosecution and arbitrary detention of Agba Jalingo simply for exercising his human rights violate Nigeria’s international human rights obligations, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which the country is a state party.”

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and full enjoyment of this right is central to achieving individual freedom and to developing democracy. It is not only the cornerstone of democracy, but indispensable to a thriving civil society”

“In circumstances of public debate concerning public figures in the political domain and public institutions, the value placed by human rights treaties upon uninhibited expression is particularly high.”

“The government of Nigeria and the Cross-River state government of governor Ben Ayade have via the charges of terrorism and treason and denial of bail to Agba Jalingo, violated and continued to breach his human rights.”

“SERAP contends that Agba Jalingo is being unfairly prosecuted because of his reporting in his online news outlet, Cross River Watch, which alleged that the Cross Rivers State Governor diverted the sum of N500 Million, belonging to the Cross-River Micro Finance Bank.”

“On 22nd August 2019, the Nigeria Police, through its special anti-robbery squad arrested Agba Jalingo. On 23rd August 2019, Mr. Jalingo was transferred to a detention facility run by the anti-cult and anti-kidnapping police in Calabar, the capital of Nigeria’s southern Cross River state and was held there for days before his arraignment on 31st August, 2019.”

SERAP is seeking the following reliefs:

1.    A DECLARATION that the actions by the government of Nigeria and the Cross River state government of governor Ben Ayade to continue to arbitrarily detain and unfairly prosecute Agba Jalingo using the Cybercrimes Act, sections 41 & 59 of Nigeria’s Criminal Code Act and sections 1 & 17 (2)(a)&(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention, Amendment) Act, violate his human rights, as guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

2.    A DECLARATION that the arbitrary detention and unfair prosecution of Agba Jalingo by the government of Nigeria and the Cross River state government of governor Ben Ayade is illegal and unlawful, as it amounts to breaches of Nigerian international obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights to freedom of expression and information and media freedom, guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

3.    AN ORDER directing the government of Nigeria and the Cross-River state government of governor Ben Ayade to immediately and unconditionally release Agba Jalingo and drop all charges against him, consistent with Nigeria’s international human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

4.    AN ORDER directing directing the government of Nigeria and the Cross-River state government of governor Ben Ayade and/or their agents to provide Agba Jalingo with effective remedies and reparation, including adequate compensation, restitution, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition

5.    FOR SUCH FURTHER orders as the Honorable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this suit.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

[/read_more]

Today News Africa
Today News Africahttps://todaynewsafrica.com
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us: contactus@todaynewsafrica.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

Joe Biden wins last presidential debate against Donald Trump

Joe Biden was surprisingly aggressive, it was perhaps the best debate he has had in 2020.Republicans...

Damning report finds detainees in Iran were sexually abused and given electric shocks in gruesome post-protest crackdown

Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials have committed, with the complicity of judges and prosecutors, a catalogue of...

Nigerians in USA to hold ‘mother of all protests’ against police brutality and bad governance in their home country

Nigerians in the United States would hold the 'mother of all protests' on Saturday against police brutality and bad governance in...

Nearly 60 million Americans have already voted representing 43% of total votes counted in 2016

At least 59.3 million Americans have already voted, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project, putting the 2020 elections on track to...

What the Joseph Robinette Biden presidency would mean for Africa – Perspectives by Simon Ateba

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., the 47th vice president of the United States in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2017, is...

Amnesty International outraged over Ethiopia’s decision to ban protests against ethnically motivated killings

Ethiopian authorities have banned peaceful protests against ethnically motivated killings which were due to take place on October 28, in direct...

Finally, Nigerian President confirms killing of peaceful protesters

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday confirmed the killing of peaceful protesters in the country last week by security forces.

Nearly 70 million Americans have already voted, representing more than 50 percent of all votes counted in 2016

Nearly 70 million Americans have already voted, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project, putting the 2020 elections on track to shatter...

Africa records 32,000 COVID-19 cases and 800 deaths in one week with South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia reporting highest numbers

Africa has recorded 32,000 new cases of COVId-19 and 800 new deaths over the past one week, according to new data...

Amnesty International USA offended by Trump admin’s claim court forcing it to separate immigrant families

Amnesty International USA on Tuesday described as "pure disinformation" a claim by the Trump administration that the court is forcing it...

Amnesty International outraged over Ethiopia’s decision to ban protests against ethnically motivated killings

Ethiopian authorities have banned peaceful protests against ethnically motivated killings which were due to take place on October 28, in direct...

Ramaphosa unveils statue of former ANC president and anti-apartheid activist OR Tambo

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday unveiled a 29.6-foot-tall statue of former ANC president and anti-apartheid activist Oliver Reginald Tambo, and delivered...

64.7 million Americans have already voted, representing nearly 47 percent of all votes counted in 2016

At least 64.7 million Americans have already voted, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project, putting the 2020 elections on track to...

Six years after, South Africa police arrest suspects over murder of former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday congratulated the South African Police Service for the breakthrough in the investigation and arrests following the...

Outrage as Nigeria imposes fines on television stations for their coverage of peaceful protests

The decision by the Nigerian government to impose fines on at least three television stations for their coverage of peaceful protests has triggered outrage.In a statement on Monday, Nigeria's Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) “condemned the unconstitutional and illegal fines of N9m reportedly imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission on Channels TV, AIT and Arise TV...

[/read_more]

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

error: Alert: Content is protected !!
Share
Tweet
Share