File picture: Andrys Stienstra/Pixabay

Johannesburg - The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on authorities in Nigeria to release publisher Agba Jalingo, who has been detained for a week without charge.

"Nigerian authorities should immediately release publisher Agba Jalingo and halt their harassment of journalists reporting on alleged corruption and other issues of public interest," the CPJ said in a statement released late Wednesday.

Last week on Thursday, 22 August, police officers in Lagos and Nigeria’s special anti-robbery squad arrested Jalingo, publisher of online news outlet CrossRiverWatch.

The next day authorities transferred Jalingo to a detention facility run by the anti-cult and anti-kidnapping police in Calabar, the capital of Nigeria’s southern Cross River state. He is being held without charge, Attah Ochinke, Jalingo’s lawyer was quoted as saying.

CPJ said before his arrest, Jalingo, said over the phone that, on 16 August he was invited for questioning by police officers in Calabar regarding a complaint brought by the state-owned Cross River Microfinance Bank about a report he published on alleged corruption.

The graft allegedly involved the bank and Benedict Ayade, the governor of Cross River state.

"Nigerian authorities should immediately release Agba Jalingo and permit CrossRiverWatch journalists to cover issues in their state without harassment," said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, in New York.

"The arrest and intimidation of journalists in Nigeria for their critical reporting is unacceptable, as is holding Jalingo for days without charge." 

African News Agency (ANA)