By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
A 30-year-old Facebook activist, Uyi Marybrown Obaseki, has been arraigned before an Oredo Magistrate Court in Benin City, Edo state, on a four-count charge bothering on cyber bullying, criminal intimidation and harassment.
In the suit number MOR/148C/2021, pending before Chief Magistrate E. B. Osifo-Ehigiegbea, Obaseki was accused of publishing “an unauthorized conversation between Barrister Felix Isere, ‘m’ on the internet, between February and March, 2021, with the intention to use it to embarrass, damage the character, insult} , injure, criminally intimidate Barrister Felix Isere, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 24 (A &B) of the Cyber Crime Act 2015 as applicable in Edo state.
On counts 2 and 3, the accused person was said to have defamed the character of the complaint and threatened his reputation.
According to the charge sheet, in one of the offensive publications on her Facebook account, with the heading: “Exam malpractice: Ize-Iyamu’s errand lawyer to be disbarred”, Uyi Marybrown Obaseki reportedly wrote among other things that “It is no longer news that one hungry-looking roadside lawyer, Felix Isere, who runs court errands for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the governorship candidate of the APC in the Edo 2020 election is about to lose his status as a lawyer.
“The said Isere few years back was indicted for examination malpractice by the school authority in his final year as a law student at the Ambrose Alli University. It was reliably gathered that it was Washington Osifo, one of the 14 runaway lawmakers that begged and arranged the cover up for him when Osifo was Commissioner for Education during the regime of Adams Oshiomhole. The said Isere lied on oath by failing to fill in his law school form attestation jurat that he was nabbed for Exam malpractice. If he did, this would have disqualified him for going to the Nigerian Law School, at the time he did”, she reportedly published on her Facebook account.
It was further gathered that the accused person also also wrote in the same publication that “Our investigation revealed that a report of non-disclosure is been prepared to the Nigerian Law School, for the call to bar certificate of Isere to be withdrawn, as same was obtained by fraud. Exam malpractice is a serious offence in Nigeria. The said lsere may also be prosecuted and if found wanting, imprisoned for committing an exam-related criminal offence”.
Based on the publication, Isere lodged a complaint at the Edo State Police Area Command, Sapele Road, Benin, on Monday March, 29 and the accused was arrested and granted administrative bail by the police and was asked to retract the said offensive publications and apologise to the complaint.
The Police Prosecuting Officer, Sergeant M. O. Olajide, told the court that a peace initiative arranged for settlement was allegedly rejected by the accused, who opted to be charged to court.
When the case was mentioned on Thursday, April 1, Uyi Marybrown Obaseki pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges.
After reviewing the matter, Magistrate Osifo-Ehigiegbea granted the accused person bail in the sum of N100,000, with a surety in like sum, who must swear to an affidavit of means and have his house address verified by the court officials.