Africa: Alarm as Nigerian Court Jails ‘Activist’ 12 years for False Facebook post
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, sitting in Maitama on Monday sentenced a social media activist, Ibrahim Wala, popularly known as IG Wala, to 12 years imprisonment.
Mr Wala, a social media activist, was arraigned following a petition filed by the chairman of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Abdullahi Mukhtar.
The NAHCON boss alleged that Mr Wala used his Facebook page to incite the public against him and defame him and that of the commission.
Passing the judgement, Justice Yusuf Halilu found Mr Wala guilty on three of the four count charges filed against him by the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation.
The three charges for which he was found guilty included unlawful assembly, public incitement and criminal defamation of character.
The judge, however, dismissed the charge of criminal intimidation for lack of merit.
On the charge of unlawful assembly, Mr Wala was found guilty of using an unregistered organisation, the Citizens Action To Take Back Nigeria, CATBAN, to form unlawful assembly.
On Count 2, Mr Wala was sentenced to seven years, while on Counts 3 and 4, the activist bagged three and two years respectively.
The judge said the prosecution “has been able to establish the offense of making an unlawful assembly”
The court also found Mr Wala guilty of public incitement, an offense contrary to section 114 penal code which deals with the breach of public peace.
Mr Yusuf also agreed with the prosecution that Mr Wala criminally defamed the chairman of NAHCON after he alleged that the NAHCON boss “made N3 billion for himself” from the 2017 Hajj operations.
The judge said Mr Wala wrote on his Facebook page that he has documents to prove the allegation.
He however, said the activist failed to provide the document to prove his claims in court.
“Where is the document proving N3bn made by chairman hajj commission?
“Why has the accused person failed to tender such document now that he has been dragged before a court of law?,” the judge asked.
He said by his inability to provide relevant documents to prove his “huge allegations”, Mr Wala “has made the case of the prosecution less cumbersome”.
He therefore sentenced Mr Wala to 12 years imprisonment, which will run concurrently, without option of fine.
Source: Premium Times