June 12: Ayade wanted to kill me, Jalingo alleges

As tension gradually dies down over Saturday’s Democracy Day protest in Calabar, the publisher of Cross River Watch, an online newspaper and political activist, Mr Agba Jalingo, has alleged that the Cross River state governor, Prof Ben Ayade, wanted him killed during the protest.

Four persons, including Jalingo were tear gassed, blindfolded and arrested during the June 12 protest in Calabar on Saturday and later released, but the journalist-cum-activist said the plan was to kill him.

Speaking in Calabar before boarding a plane back to Lagos late Saturday, Jalingo said: “With a fake petition falsely accusing me of gun and bomb running on Friday, two ammunition planted by Ayade’s special forces was to rope me and shoot indiscriminately at our office, Saturday.

“I have no doubt that Governor Ayade wanted to kill me and make it look like a mistake or see me behind bars until the end of his failed government. Whatever the content, we want Ayade and his Special Forces to explain.

“I don’t know what chemicals the Special Forces in Ayade’s convoy repeatedly spread into our noses after arresting and blindfolding us. All four of us are still choking.”

Speaking also through his Facebook timeline, the executive secretary of Basic Rights Counsel, James Ibor, who was among the protesters, said, “Ayade led his known gunmen and arrested us. He blind folded us, tortured us and planted live ammunition on us. We thank CP Sikiru Akande who resisted the evil plot of the drug addict in Peregrino House. Our only crime is celebrating June 12 in front of Cross River Watch Office.”

Protesters had gathered at the Marian and Rabbana junctions to protest what they described as bad governance and uncontrollable insecurity.

The protest came a day after the state government, in a press release, said it would not tolerate any gathering or protest due to volatile security situation in the state.

“The Cross River state government wishes to remind the general public that the ban on public procession and gathering in the state is still very much in force.

“Due to the prevailing security situation in the country, the government will not permit any procession or gathering under any guise on June 12 which is designated as Democracy Day,” the release, which was signed by the governor’s spokesman, Christian Ita, had stated.