A Federal High Court in Lagos presided over by Justice Jude Kanyoh Dagat yesterday issued a warrant of arrest against an online publisher, Seun Oloketuyi, for failure to appear before it to answer a libel suit instituted against him.
The judge made the order after dismissing the submission of the accused person’s lawyer, Uchenna Ogunedo-Akingbade, who informed the court that her client was indisposed due to ill-health.
Justice Dagat while dismissing the lawyer’s submission said, “There is no medical report before the court to show that accused is sick; and the sureties to the accused are not present in the court, as such the submission of the accused counsel is hereby dismissed.
“In this same circumstances, the bail of the accused is hereby revoked and a bench warrant be issued against the accused person.”
The blogger was arraigned before Justice Mohammed Yunusa who is on transfer to another division of the Federal High Court, over alleged malicious publication against the managing director and chief executive officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, by the Special Fraud Unit, SFU, of Nigerian Police Force, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos, in August 25, 2015.
Oloketuyi, who is the organiser of the annual Best of Nollywood Awards, was alleged to have published a news report on his blog, where he alleged that Okonkwo had a love relationship with a married lady in the marketing department of the bank.
In the report, Oloketuyi had further alleged that the extra-marital affair between Okonkwo and the said lady simply identified as Justina, resulted in the birth of a baby and that the affair also destroyed the marriage of the said Justina.
He further alleged that Okonkwo had since sent the affected lady abroad to further her studies.
The development led to Okonkwo’s petition to the police, and after investigation, Oloketuyi was charged to court.
In the count one of the charge marked FHC/L/346C/15, Oloketuyi was accused of intentionally sending message and other matters by means of computer system or network against Okonkwo, which he knew to be false, for the purpose of causing him annoyance, insult and ill-will.
The offence was said to be contrary to and punishable under Section 24 (1) (b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention Etc) Act, 2015.
In count two, he was accused of knowingly publishing defamatory matters on Okonkwo, which he knew to be false, contrary to and punishable under Section 375 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, Laws of the Federation.
The story was alleged to have been published sometime in June 2015 via Oloketuyi’s blog, www.naijahottestgist.com.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and consequently, admitted to bail in the sum of N2 million with two sureties in like sum.
The matter has been adjourned till March 11, 2016, for mention.

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