ABUJA – Global human rights group, Amnesty International has declared Agba Jalingo, publisher of CrossRiverWatch a prisoner of conscience.
Agba Jalingo was on Monday released, on bail, from Malabar Prison in Cross River State after 179 days in detention.
In a message posted on Facebook shortly after the publisher’s release, Amnesty International said it had declared him a prisoner of conscience. It also called on the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Cross River State Government to drop charges against Agba Jalingo, described the charges as “bogus”.
Agba Jalingo’s release on Monday was after he had met bail conditions granted in the sum of N10m by the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar.
Jalingo was first arraigned on August 22, 2019 after he published a story on how Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River, allegedly approved and diverted N500 million meant for the state’s microfinance bank.
Following an outcry, Ayade had denied involvement in the trial of Jalingo, but said the federal government was behind the journalist’s case over his involvement in the #RevolutionNow protest led by Omoyele Sowore.
In the human rights community a prisoner of conscience is a person who has been put in prison for holding political or religious views not tolerated by the state in which the individual lives.