The continuing detention of a journalist, Agba Jalingo has been described as a distraction for the administration of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State by the state chapter of the National Association of Seadogs.
Jalingo, the publisher of an online publication, Crossriverwatch, was arrested in August in Lagos and charged to court in Calabar, the Cross River State capital on charges bordering on treason for criticising Ayade. His trial has been without much progress.
The association, in a statement by its chapter President, Sir Maurice Ibok, appealed to Ayade to consider intervening in the matter for the release of the detained journalist.
Ibok, who commended the governor for successfully inaugurating the State Executive Council members, said the government needed to carry out its serious business of governance without distractions.
He said: “Your recent successful inauguration of the State Executive Council is a step in the right direction and indicates your strong desire to continue the serious business of providing good governance to the people without unnecessary distraction, or lack of focus. We truly congratulate you and offer our support to the progressive endeavour.
“There is, however, some fly in the ointment; the matter of the continued detention of Mr Agba Jalingo. It is a matter which has become truly worrisome in several quarters and borders on human rights. We are concerned that the longer that his detention lasts, the bigger the risk of distraction that your government faces.
“We do not believe that your government desires or even would enjoy any distraction at this or any other point in time. Besides, it is not heart-warming to experience negative mention concerning matters of human rights.
“We are persuaded that you do have the capacity to intervene to bring an end to the unnecessary controversy over his continued detention. Such intervention will cost you only the distraction which neither you, nor your government needs, in the first place, and end the controversy which has hardly painted an attractive image.”
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