The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has threatened to sue Cross River government and Governor Ben Ayade over the continuous detention of the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, Agba Jalingo.
Jalingo was arrested on August 22 and later charged for treason over a report alleging that Ayade diverted N500 million belonging to the state.
“We’re suing Cross River State government, Governor Ben Ayade and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) if journalist Agba Jalingo is not unconditionally released by Tuesday 28, January 2020,” SERAP said in a statement over the weekend.
“Rights to freedom of expression and the media must be upheld. Impunity for attacks on journalists must end,” it added.
Jalingo’s trial was in November listed among 10 “most urgent” cases of threats to press freedom around the world.
Amnesty International, several other organizations and Nigerians have been calling for Jalingo’s release from prison.
Another critic of Governor Ayade, Joseph Odok, who had been detained in Calabar prison, was freed on bail on January 21.
Odok, a Nigerian lawyer, was charged with terrorism for criticising the governor.
“I am yet to appreciate those who stood up for my release and feel first thing I should do is to ask for the immediate release of an innocent man and my friend, Agba Jalingo,” Mr Odok wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday.
“We got so close as cell mates in prison and would have felt better if we were both released together but as fate made it, I was granted bail before him not for any reason but for what only God knows why.
“Agba Jalingo is innocent and the prison should never be his home. I join all lovers of democracy to call on the Cross River state government to immediately release Agba Jalingo,” the lawyer said.