A Magistrate Court sitting in Lokoja has sentenced a young man, Habibu Achile Rabiu, to two months in imprisonment, in addition to a fine of N5000 for allegedly posting false information on his Facebook page.
The Department of State Security (DSS), had arrested Rabiu and charged him to court over his comment on the social media application that states, “The rate at which fever is killing people in Kogi State is alarming.”
He was granted bail after being charged with the offence of spreading false information ‘capable of causing panic or inflict injuries to the society’. Moreso, Rabiu made the post on his Facebook during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
At the resumption of the case on Tuesday, the Prosecuting Counsel, Mr M.A Abaji argued that the defendant acted contrary to section 393 of the Kogi State penal code by intimidating people, creating fear and inciting people against the state government, by his statement on his Facebook timeline.
Abaji stated that the defendant also raised a false alarm in the state against the backdrop of the rate of death amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
He further pointed out that the state epidemiologist who was invited to testify to ascertain Rabiu’s claims noted that at the time the defendant posted his comment on Facebook, the death rate in the state was normal contrary to the defendant’s claim.
The Defense Counsel, E .A Iwu argued that the defendant acted based on emotion after his sister who was diagnosed with malarial fever died at that moment in his area of the state
He argued that his client was pained and in a sad mood when he posted the alleged statement on his Facebook page.
The presiding Magistrate, Chief Magistrate, A.A. Agatha, in her judgement sentenced the defendant to two months imprisonment with no option of fine, in addition, he is to pay N5,000, as stipulated by the law.
The Chief Magistrate stated that the defendant’s action by the said post on his Facebook page has contravened section 393 of the Kogi State Penal code which attracted two months imprisonment, for raising a false alarm.
The defendant was said to have paid N5,000 before he was moved to Correction Centre, shortly after the judgement.
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