The Cross River State Government has knocked human rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana, for linking it with the terrorism charges preferred against Agba Jalingo by the police.
Jalingo, who has been in police detention for over a week, is a Nigerian journalist who was arrested following a report about an alleged diversion of N500 million by the Cross River governor.
In a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Christian Ita, the state government accused Falana of deliberately obfuscating the facts of the matter with the intention of misleading and misinforming the public.
It described as shameful the situation in which the Senior Advocate of Nigeria would issue a statement in which he made what he called spurious claims against the state without even siting the charge sheet to intimate himself with the facts of the case.
Ita added that, contrary to Falana’s claim, the “Cross River State Government has no hand in the terrorism charges preferred against Agba Jalingo by the police.
“The state government is made to understand that the police slammed terrorism charge against Mr. Jalingo for his alleged role in the RevolutionNow protest, as an ally of Mr. Omoyele Sowore, who is currently being held by the Department of State Services (DSS).”
The statement explained that the microfinance bank report which Jalingo wrote and which Falana referenced had nothing to do with Jalingo’s arrest and the subsequent slamming of terrorism charges against him.
“It may interest Falana and his co-travelers to note that the bank has since instituted a civil suit against Jalingo for libel.
“So whatever is going on between the police and Jalingo has nothing to do with the bank or the state government.”
The statement urged the Senior Advocate of Nigeria to acquaint himself with the facts of the case rather than seeking to use it to hug newspaper headlines.
“Had Mr. Falana not been interested solely in showmanship, he would have carefully studied the charge sheets before commenting.
“If Falana had chosen professionalism above showmanship, he would have discovered after studying the charge sheets that Jalingo is facing terrorism charges for his alleged role in RevolutionNow protest and not being prosecuted by the Cross River state government for criticizing it.
“It is heartbreaking that a lawyer of Falana’s standing has continually brought the profession to disrepute, cheapened it and spurned professional norms in the altar of populism,” the statement said.
The statement advised Mr. Falana to seek to personally represent Jalingo in court rather than staying on the sidelines to make unfounded statements.
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