The Nigeria Police Force has formerly invited a citizen journalist, Justice Jalingo Agba to appear before it after dropping their invitation letter for him at the office of Cross River Watch in Calabar at the weekend in accordance with the journalist’s demand following an informal invitation send to him earlier.
Agba had written an article about allegedly moribund Cross River State Microfinance Bank which was published by the online medium, CrossRiverWatch.
According to the Cross River State Police Command, there was a complaint that the article was a “conspiracy to cause a breach of peace” in the state.
The letter of invitation dated August 14, 2019, The Street Reporters Newspaper gathered, was delivered two days after a request for a formal invitation by the journalist.
It was dropped by an agent of the force, named Eni Benjamin at 9:30am on Friday.
The letter was signed by Mrs. Tami Evelyn Peterside, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department.
The letter reads in full:
“This office is investigating a case of conspiracy to cause a breach of peace, reported by Cross River Microfinance Bank, Calabar, in which your name is mentioned.
“To facilitate our investigation, you are kindly requested to (sic) interview the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department, Calabar, on Monday, 19th August 2019, at 1400hrs, to state your side of the case.
“Your cooperation is highly solicited as we expect an early response, please.”
Though the letter was addressed to a wrong name “Agba Aborbor a.k.a Jalingo”, a name the journalist have never heard before, he still said he would honour the invitation so far the letter was dropped by the Police formally at the journalist’s office.
Reacting to the development, Justice Agba Jalingo noted that he will honour the invitation by the Police, for certain reasons.
According to him, he will honour the invitation because “The Police is constitutionally empowered to investigate complaints and deal with culpable parties. The law also empowers the Police to invite citizens named in complaints for questioning to ascertain the truth and every law abiding citizen must cooperate with these provisions of the law, and I am a law abiding citizen; so I will go!
“It is only fugitive outlaws, whose tracks are usually not clean, that run away from law enforcement. I am not a fugitive; so I will go!
“For what appears like a wrong spelling of the name of my grandfather “Abobo” which none of my father’s children has ever used either as suffix or prefix, to find its way into that invitation, confirms my earlier allegations that this complaint is political. The Nigeria Police know my names correctly. I have had so much to do with the organization to know that they know my names. So I want to tell whoever is the politician behind this shoddy job that politicians cannot bully me. This country is governed by laws and I am prepared to test my culpability in this frivolous complaint; so I will go!
“Honorable my invitation, my possible detention and arraignment (all of which I am prepared for), is one of the ways the details about the Cross River state Microfinance bank will come out. The books of the bank will remain shrouded in secrecy if I do not go; so I will go!
“This is a test for journalists, particularly the online journalism sector in Cross River state, which CrossRiverWatch pioneered 8 years ago. The online media in the State has grown and gained a reputation for breaking news in real time and holding our leaders in the State accountable, contrary to what was the situation prior to our emergence. If Governor Ayade, who is instigating all this, in a bid to bully CrossRiverWatch into submission succeeds, it will be a very sad day for online journalism is our state. Younger bloggers and aspiring bloggers in our state who look up to us are watching and taking notes. Someone is trying to plant fear in our camp and we will rise to the occasion and allow the cosmic to fight the battle; so I will go!”, the renowned journalist and human rights activists said.
He noted, “This is no search for heroism. It has been my life for more than 20 years now. Rising up to challenge injustice, a cause for which my entire life has revolved.
“I have taken it back home to my State and even on this occasion, I will not be deterred. God forbid that I shrink from a responsibility that providence has entrusted on me.
“While our lawyers are doing their work, let me tell the reader that it does not include asking me not to go. I have duely informed the Police that I will be honoring their invitation and we have agreed to shift the date to August 26th, when I will be available in Calabar and I promise you, I will go to Diamond Hill and honor my invitation”, Jalingo said.