A Magistrate Court 1 sitting in Lokoja has adjourned till Tuesday August, 2020 to determine the bail application for one Habib Rabiu accused of spreading fake news.
It would be recalled that the defendant alleged through his Facebook account that fever is killing many people in Kogi State, a situation that raised public anxiety.
The Magistrate Court 1, Presided over by O. Joel Omajali also asked that the accused be remanded in the DSS facility.
The accused, a 35 year old native of Ayingba, was accused of spreading fake news which is capable of causing public disturbances.
The matter which came up today between the State and Habib Rabiu, saw the accused person pleading not guilty to the charge read against him about alleged offences said to have been committed on the 10th day of June, 2020.
The accused was said to have created injurious falsehood, stating that people were dying of an alarming rate of fever, indirectly saying there is covid19 in the State against the true position of the State Government on the matter.
In his argument, the Kogi State Director of Prosecution, Habib Abdullahi, argued that having made confession to the allegations and indicted other persons at large, granting the accused person bail, would tamper with the ongoing investigation by the DSS, urging the court to refuse the bail application.
Supporting her argument for bail for the accused person, Deborah.A. Olorunmaiye counsel to the defendant, said the offence committed is bailable, with the court having a wide discretion, pleading with the court to grant the accused person bail.
But in her ruling, O.J. Omajali said having meticulously listened to the argument of thr counsels, said the offence committed is bailable, but in order to safeguard public peace, adjourned the matter till Tuesday 18th August, 2020 to rule on the application for bail by the accused.
The trial Judge consequently remanded the accused to the custody of the DSS facility for further investigations and adjourned the matter till Tuesday 18/ 8/2020 to determine the application for bail.
The trial of Habib Rabbiu is a reminder of the clampdown on fake news across the country which is expected to aid the war against unnecessary public incitement. It will also help to instil responsibility in users of the social media to report only verifiable facts.