A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday slammed a N3 million bail on a blogger for allegedly publishing a defamatory item about the CEO of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo. The accused, Seun Oloketuyi, 39, is standing trial on a two-count charge bordering on defamation.
The accused was arraigned by the Police Special Fraud Unit and he pleaded not guilty to the charge. Justice Mohammed Yunusa, who gave the ruling, also granted the accused two credible sureties in like sum. Yunusa said that one of the sureties must be a blood relation of the accused while the second surety must have a landed property in Lagos.
He added that the sureties must swear to an affidavit of means while the sureties must be verified by the prosecutor. He ordered that the accused should be remanded in Ikoyi Prisons pending when the bail conditions would be met and
adjourned the case to Nov. 4 for trial.
Counsel to the accused, Mr Muiz Bamire, had urged the court to grant the accused bail on liberal terms. He supported the bail application with affidavit and a written address. The Prosecutor, Mr Olakanmi Omisope, had opposed the bail application with counter-affidavit.
Omisope had told the court that the accused committed the offences sometime in June in Lagos. He said the accused knowingly and intentionally published a defamatory story on the internet against Okonkwo, the CEO of Fidelity Bank. Omisope alleged that the accused published the defamatory story on www.naijahottestgist.com, in order to annoy and insult Okonkwo.
He said the offences contravened Section 24 (1) (b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention) Act, 2015 and Section 375 of the Criminal Code Act, Laws of the Federation.
NAN reports that Section 24 (1) of the Cybercrime Act provides that any person who intentionally or knowingly sends a message which is grossly offensive or an indecent obscene that is false by means of computer network is liable on conviction to a fine of N7, 000 or three years imprisonment or both.