Court Rejects Bail Plea By Blogger Ijele, Remands Him In Prison

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A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the remand of a blogger, Chizorom Harrison Ofoegbu for alleged Cyber stalking, and defamation of the Spiritual Director,  Zion Movement Outreach Ministry,  Evangelist Ebuka Obi

The presiding judge, Justice Akintayo Aluko, ordered the remand of the blogger, after he pleaded not guilty to the three counts charges of conspiracy, cyber stalking and publishing a vexatious and obnoxious publications against the person of Evang. Ebuka Obi

At the arraignment of the blogger yesterday, Barrister Peter Ajike, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) appeared for the prosecution, while Mr. Femi Falana SAN appeared for the defendant. The prosecutor informed the court that he has an ammended charge dated April 15, 2024. 

Though, the defence lawyer,  Mr. Falana (SAN) initially objected to the amended charge on the ground that he was not served, he however, upon being served with the amended charge, withdrew his objection. 

Following which the three counts amended charge was read to the defendant. Upon the reading of the charge, the defendant pleaded not guilty. Based on his not guilty plea, his lawyer, Mr. Falana (SAN), orally applied for his bail. 

Falana cited the Court of Appeal decision, in the case between Abiola and Federal Republic of Nigeria, delivered by Justice Abdulahi (JCA), and urged the court to use its discretion in granting the oral application for bail. 

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But the prosecutor, DSP Ajike, urged the court to discountenance the oral application for bail, saying that the court is a court of record. He therefore urged the court to remand the defendant in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till when his bail application is filed and determined. 

Ruling on the bail application, Justice Aluko, held that every case has its own specularity, and that the charge against the defendant is different from the one cited by the defence counsel. Consequently, Justice Aluko ordered  that a former bail application must be filed. 

On the remand of the defendant, pending the hearing of his bail application, Falana pleaded with the court to remand him in the police facility, where he has being remanded for two months. 

He told the court that the defendant has been in the police custody, Abuja, since March. Again, the prosecutor opposed the application, and urged the court to remand him in the NCoS’ custody. Justice Aluko, in his short ruling, acceded to the prosecutor’s submission, and ordered that the defendant be remanded at the NCoS’, pending the hearing and determination of his bail on May 30. 

The three counts amended charge against the blogger reads: “that you Chizorom Harrison Ofoegbu ‘M’ sometime in February 2024 at Oshodi Lagos State within the Jurisdiction of this honourable Court did commit an illegal act to wit: Conspiracy, when you Chizorom Harrison Ofoegbu and others now at large Criminally conspired within yourselves, used your social media handle “The King of the game” knowing same to be false made a vexatious and obnoxious online Publications against the person of Evang. Ebuka Obi the spiritual director of Zion Movement Outreach Ministry situate in Lagos purporting him to be performing fake, arranged miracles and deceiving members of the Public which attracted several views from third parties with the intention to cause hatred and damage to the reputation of Evang. Ebuka Obi and his Ministry before the right thinking members of the Public and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 27(1)(a) of Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act 2015.”  

“That you Chizorom Harrison Ofoegbu ‘M’ sometime in February 2024 at Oshodi Lagos State within the Jurisdiction of this Honorable Court did commit an illegal act to wit: Cyber stalking, when you Chizorom Harrison Ofoegbu and others now at large Criminally used your social media handle “The King of the game” made a vexatious and obnoxious online Publications against the person of Evang. Ebuka Obi the spiritual director of Zion Movement Outreach Ministry situate in Lagos purporting him to be performing fake and arranged miracles and deceiving members of the Public as well as put Evang. Ebuka Obi to fear of death and any members of his Ministry which attracted several views from third parties with the intention to cause hatred and damage the reputation of Evang. Ebuka Obi and his Ministry before the right thinking members of the Public and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 24(1){a)(b) and (2)({a)(b)Cybercrimes (Prohibitions, Prevention) Act 2015. “

“That you Chizorom Harrison Ofoegbu ‘M’ sometime in February 2024 at Oshodi Lagos State within the Jurisdiction of this Honorable Court did commit an illegal act to wit: Defamation, when you Chizorom Harrison Ofoegbu and others now at large Criminally used your social media handle “The King of the game” made a vexatious and obnoxious Publications against the person of Evang. Ebuka Obi the spiritual director of Zion Movement Outreach Ministry situate in Lagos with the intent to annoy, exposing him to hatred, contempt and ridicule him by purporting him to be performing fake and arranged miracles and deceiving members of the Public which attracted several views from third parties and by so doing, you have criminally disparage, lower his estimation and damage the reputation of Evang. Ebuka Obi and his Ministry before the right thinking members of the Public and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 373 and 374 of the Criminal Code Act, Punishable under section 375 of the Criminal Code Act.”

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