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OPAN versus AGF cyber crime case adjourned till Feb 2019

In Online Publishers Association of Nigeria [OPAN]) versus Federal Government of Nigeria over the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act 2015.
Re: SUIT NO. FHCLCS12302018 Austyn Ogannah and Daniel Elombah (on behalf of OPAN) -V- ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION
This case came up on 23 November 2018 for Mention. The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation was represented by two Counsels.
They informed the Court that they would file a Counter-Affidavit to OPAN Originating Summons next week.
In view of this, the Court was inclined to adjourn for hearing.
Thus, OPAN moved the application to rely on Written Addresses in support of OPAN case and it was granted.
OPAN will proceed with their Written Address upon receipt of the Counter-Affidavit from the AGF’s office.
The case was adjourned to 13th February, 2019 for hearing.
OPAN contends that:
1. Section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act 2015 is NOT reasonably justifiable in a Democratic Society under Sections 39(3) and 45(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
2. Section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act 2015 is NOT constitutional and valid by virtue of Sections 1(3) and 39(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
Recall that the matter came up on 17th October 2018, before the Honourable Justice Aikawa.
The Court had granted a Motion Ex Parte seeking leave to serve the Originating Summons on the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation in the FCT, Abuja. The AGF having been served, the suit was thereafter adjourned to 23rd November, 2018 for mention.
The next hearing is listed for 13 February 2019.
Numerous bloggers, online journalists, and ordinary users were arrested for their online activities in the past year, most of whom were charged for “cyberstalking” under Section 24 of the cybercrime law, though no cases have led to convictions.
In January 1, 2018, Daniel Elombah and Timothy Elombah, publisher and Editor of ElombahNews were arrested by SARS and are being prosecuted under the obnoxious law.
In August 2016, blogger Abubakar Usman was arrested and held for two days for a report accusing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of corruption.
Musa Azare was also arrested by police in August after he allegedly criticized the Bauchi state governor on social media, though the governor himself demanded Azare’s release, citing his support for freedom of expression.
In September 2016, blogger Jamil Mubai was arrested for using Twitter to criticize the Katsina state governor’s purchase of coffins instead of paying the outstanding salaries of civil servants.31
Also in September, State Security Service (SSS) agents arrested blogger Emenike Iroegbu, who runs the Abia Facts online outlet, for allegedly harassing Abia State officials in his articles.
In November 2016, SSS agents arrested activist Aku Obidinma for critical comments he posted on Facebook about the Deputy Governor of Imo state.
In February 2017, authorities in Kaduna State arrested Audu Maikori for “inciting” tweets about citizen killings by herdsmen in Southern Kaduna that had been proven false.34 Upon realization, Maikori apologized for tweeting the false information, but the authorities continued to carry out his arrest. Released a day later on bail, he was arrested again in March, reportedly for the same issue out of insistence of the Kaduna State Governor.35 Maikori filed a countersuit for the “undue harassment and intimidation by the Kaduna State government, the State Governor and the Nigerian Police” in May,36 which he ultimately won in October.37 A Federal High Court judge ruled that Maikori’s fundamental rights had been violated by the unlawful arrests.
In March 2017, blogger Kemi Olunloyo was arrested for a post about a pastor’s alleged extra-marital affairs. She was granted bail in April.
In July 2017, police in Katsina State detained journalist Danjuma Katsina for Facebook posts deemed critical of a local parliamentarian. He was released the next day with no charges and given no official reason for his detention.

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