Deji Adeyanju, Human Rights Activist and Convener of Concerned Nigerians has called on a Visa ban for Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River state over alleged clampdown on Press freedom.
Adeyanju who addressed his letter to the US embassy, stated that Gov. Ben Ayade was known for imprisoning anyone who criticised his administration, citing Agba Jalingo who has been in detention since Aug 22, 2019 and and Joseph Odom since Sep 26, 2019 as victims of Ayade’s abuse of power.
According to the Concerned Nigerians Convener, Governor Ayade felt slighted by the publications of the Journalists who criticized his style of governance and called for a mass protest to unseat him as Governor. Adeyanju explained, this is the reason these Journalists were put behind bars.
Therefore, he urged the United States Ambassador to place a Visa ban on the Governor and all his family members ensuring none of them is able to leave the country at will, for vacations and other possible reasons.
Read Deji Adeyanju’s letter;
The United States Embassy
Central Business District
We are a civil society organization that prioritizes human rights and good governance in Nigeria. We have consistently taken a stance against the myriad violations of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerians by unscrupulous individuals and public institutions.
We write to call the attention of the United States Embassy in Nigeria to the unabashed clampdown on press freedom and freedom of expression in Cross Rivers State, Nigeria.
The Governor of Cross Rivers State, Ben Ayade, has declared war on press freedom and free speech in the state by randomly harassing, arresting, and incarcerating Activists and Journalists on fallacious charges to abet his repression and persecution agenda.
A renowned Cross Rivers State Journalist and Activist, Agba Jalingo, has been unjustly arrested since August 22, 2019, for criticising Governor Ben Ayade. According to a popular Online Medium in Nigeria, Agba Jalingo was arraigned on Friday, August 30, 2019, at the Federal High Court, Calabar Judicial Division, on four counts bordering on “acts of treason, treasonable felony, and threatening through various publications on crossriverwatch.com and social media, using malicious publications, instigating the people of Nigeria to stage protest for the removal of the Governor of Cross River State of Nigeria from office without due process of law and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 41 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Similarly, another activist cum blogger named Joseph Odok has been arrested and detained arbitrarily since September 26, 2019, on the order of the Cross Rivers State government and has now been charged with terrorism for publishing a post on Facebook.
We believe that acts of impunity and repression as highlighted above are unfit for any democratic society. And allowing this trend of despotism to continue without consequences will only aggravate the worsening human rights conditions in the country.
We, therefore, beseech you to please look into these human rights violations going on in Cross Rivers State and impose visa restrictions on the Governor of Cross Rivers State, Ben Ayade and all the members of his family.
We trust that the United States Government will demonstrate to Nigerians, once again, as was done to those that undermined Nigeria’s electoral and democratic process in the 2019 general elections, that it is strongly opposed to human rights violations, acts of injustice and undemocratic practices by persons in positions of power in Nigeria.
Whilst awaiting your esteemed response, please be assured of our warmest regards.
FOR: CONCERNED NIGERIANS
FOR: COALITION IN DEFENCE OF NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY AND CONSTITUTION
FOR: FREE NIGERIA MOVEMENT