Thursday, 26 December 2019

Christmas message: Extend your humanity on Jalingo, Odok or... Civil societies warn Ayade

The Coalition of Cross River Civil societies organizations has sent a Christmas message to the Governor of Cross River requesting for the immediate unconditional release of Agba Jalingo and Joseph Odok within 48 hours as a demonstration of the governor's humane nature in the spirit of the 2019 Carnival Calabar celebration themed "Humanity

The group said in a press statement shortly after visiting the duo at the Afokang Prisons (correctional center) on Christmas day. The delegation informed their comrades that they were in solidarity boycotting the celebration of the 2019 Christmas and will be giving the governor a 48 hours ultimatum to set them free being that they were innocent of whatever charges levied against them. 

The Press statement which was signed by six delegates reads thus: 

Coalition of Cross River State Civil Society Organisations, CCRSCSO

Press Release: Humanity-themed Carnival Calabar 2019 and the Inhumanity of the Incarceration of Jalingo and Odok.

Preamble: In August 2019 His Excellency the Executive Governor of Cross River State unveiled the theme of the Carnival Calabar 2019 to be —Humanity. However, in the same month of August this year, human rights activist Agba Jalingo was illegally arrested at his Lagos residence by officers of the Nigerian Police and detained. In the following month of September, Joseph Odok's arrest was effected. Each of them have spent over hundred days in detention whereas their trial is yet to commence. 

Whereas the theme of the Carnival Calabar 2019 being 'Humanity' is a clear indictment on the Cross River State Government in respect to the unlawful incarceration of the duo of Jalingo and Odok, we the members of the Coalition of Cross River State Civil Society Organisations, CCRSCSO having paid a visit to Jalingo and Odok today in the Custodial Centre in Calabar Correctional Service, Afokang and having convened a press conference, therefore resolve as follows that: 

i. We issue a 48 hour ultimatum demanding the release of the duo activists_ Agba Jalingo and Joseph Odok PhD without conditions. 

ii. That if (i) above is not met, we demand that the international community and the generality of the Nigerian public in solidarity with the incarcerated journalist and activist, boycott the 28 December 2019 Carnival celebration in Calabar.

iii. The first official assignment of the newly inaugurated Commissioner for Humanity in Cross River State, Blessing Egbara, is to comply with (i) above. 

iv. Should the Honourable Commissioner for Humanity fail in her first official assignment, we call on His Excellency the Executive Governor of the State, Sen. Prof. Benedict Ayade, to immediately replace the Humanity-themed Carnival Calabar 2019 to something else in order to avoid a contest of semantics and prevent the misrepresentation of human right reality within Cross River State to Nigerians and the international community.

In conclusion, we want to notify the powers that be in the state, that we are aware, from our intelligence, that there are 6 activists in your hit list you have marked down to give the Agba Jalingo/Joseph Odok treatment beginning from January 2020. But be rest assured that Cross Riverians are watching, and the world is observing as well —we will not be deterred. 

Signed by:

Anthony Bissong Attah 
Iso Edim 
Richard F. Inoyo
Ukorebi Esien 
Efio-Ita Nyok
Simon Utsu

Delegates of the coalition shortly after the
Visit on Jalingo and Odok at the Afokang correctional center