Chief Magistrates’ Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has ordered a 40-year-old man, Mr Idongest Idiok, to be remanded in a correctional centre for publishing libel against Governor Udom Emmanuel.
The accused person popularly known as Soundcraft Owo Oba, on Facebook, had on March 16, 2022, made ‘offensive and derogatory’ social media publication against the governor by referring to him as a sex maniac.
Idiok also alleged that the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Glory Edet, is the Governor’s sidechic.
“Inem mfed Ette asin awana ami. Daa Ufan ade akung itid tutu” he wrote.
The publication followed an incident at the Ibom Hall, Uyo, during the International Women’s Day celebration where the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Edet, was alleged to have said that she was the leader of women in the state in the presence of the wife of the governor, Mrs Martha Emmanuel.
The accused person took to his Facebook page and other social media platforms to abuse the governor.
According to the charge, the accused had, within the magisterial district in the Uyo metropolis, knowingly and intentionally made a social media publication via Facebook, knowing the same to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, insult, injury or ill-will against Governor Udom Emmanuel.
The offence is punishable under Section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.
After listening to the application of the prosecuting counsel that jurisdiction in the matter of cybercrime, by virtue of Section 50 of the Act, was vested in the Federal High Court, Senior Magistrate Ini-fiok Isong ordered that the case file be forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for legal advice/arraignment of the accused before the appropriate court.
He further ordered that pending the DPP’s legal advice, the accused be remanded in custody of the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Ikot Ekpene, for a period not exceeding 14 days.
The prosecution was led by Ibanga Inyang, while Uwem Umoh represented the accused person, and Samuel Ikpo led Pelumi Adegoke represented the governor.
The case was adjourned till Monday, 4th of April, 2022.
Meanwhile, a legal luminary, Samuel Ikpor, who is watching the brief on behalf of the Governor, said the case would serve as a reminder that a poster of defamatory comments on social media can be held liable for damage caused by those comments.