Nigeria: Police Arrest Nigerian Journalist

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian police has arrested the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, a Cross River State-based newspaper, Agba Jalingo.

An editor of the paper, Achibong Jeremiah, told PREMIUM TIMES about the development, Thursday evening.

He said Mr Jalingo was arrested at his Lagos residence and taken to SARS office in Ikoyi, Lagos State.

According to Mr Jeremiah, the arrest is connected to the invitation of Mr Jalingo by the police in Cross River State over an alleged petition against the newspaper by a microfinance bank in Calabar.

According to the police invitation dated August 14, which Mr Achibong said the paper received on August 16, the bank and its customers had accused the newspaper of an attempt to cause a breach of the peace.

Mr Achibong told PREMIUM TIMES that the newspaper had published a story about the bank several months after the state governor, Benedict Ayade, announced the allocation of N500 million for the establishment of the bank but without any activity going on there.

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Mr Jalingo had earlier told PREMIUM TIMES that he believed that the police invitation was related to the story and similar stories ran by the paper against Mr Ayade.

"The story had been written because the bank to which the governor had allocated N500 million was not functioning months after its creation. No financial activity was taking place there," Mr Achibong said.

But Mr Ayade's spokesperson, Christian Ita, said Mr Jalingo's arrest was over his alleged involvement in the recent #RevolutionNow protests.

Lagos State police spokesperson, Bela Elkana, could not immediately be reached for comments. Mr Elkana's phone line appeared busy on another call during several attempts by PREMIUM TIMES to reach him.

Mr Jalingo had told PREMIUM TIMES that he planned to honour the police invitation on August 26.

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