Alex Enumah in Abuja
The National President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Chris Isiguzo, has disclosed that it will mobilize its members to attend the next court proceedings of detained Cross River-based journalist, Agba Jalingo.
Isiguzo said the move is to show solidarity to the plight of Jalingo, who has been in custody for over 170 days.
The NUJ president made the disclosure while speaking with journalists in Abuja Tuesday on the level of preparations for the NUJ Press Freedom Awards 2020.
Responding to questions from journalists, Isiguzo said the body takes the issue of security, safety and freedom of its members in the discharge of their lawful duties seriously, hence the body would be attending the next court proceedings as a sign of solidarity.
He said: “It is sad that Agba Jalingo is still in detention. We have spoken with the government of Cross River State and they told us that they are not the ones keeping him.
“However, at the next court appearance, I will be leading a delegation of journalists to show solidarity and demonstrate the fact that we are serious about the matter.”
Isiguzo added that further steps would also be taken by the union to ensure Jalingo’s release from detention.
Jalingo is standing trial on a four-count criminal charge bordering on alleged acts of terrorism and cybercrime.
Though he pleaded not guilty to the charges, he was however denied bail on two occasions.
Speaking on the NUJ Press Freedom Awards, the president said the event will honour those who have contributed immensely to the growth and sustenance of press freedom in Nigeria.
“Many journalists in Nigeria have faced harassment, threat, physical injury, improvement and even death in the course of discharging their legitimate duties.
“It is the courage and sacrifice of these journalists that we are celebrating by organizing the third edition of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Freedom Awards 2020.
“The event will also honour media owners, corporations, political and public office holders who have actively supported press freedom in Nigeria,” he said.
Isiguzo however said because of fund constraints, the body would be needing the partnership of lovers of press freedom to ensure a successful hosting of the event slated for May 5, 2020.