The Federal High Court, sitting in Lokoja, on Wednesday ruled it will proceed in a cybercrime and other related charges brought by the Kogi State government against a popular social blogger, Comrade Austin Usman Okai.
The decision was taken by a federal judge despite a wrong filing of proceedings pointed out by the defense attorney.
Justice Ndahi Auta handed down the controversial ruling and adjourned hearing till October 12. By doing so, he was accepting the line of the state government to unilaterally fling behind bars the voice of opposition elements in the state, particularly such prominent ones as those of Mr. Okai whose crime is that he advocates the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions and good governance.
Comrade Okai was represented by his counsel, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), who argued strongly against the trial of the social crusader claiming that he was petitioned by faceless individuals and not the state government as claimed in court documents.
The government is acting on the premise that the blogger was inciting the public to cause public disorder by publishing a series of instigating comments against its refusal to downsize the state workforce through endless screening and verification of workers and pensioners documents.
Okai, who was earlier granted bail by a magistrate court but was re-arrested in the court premises by security agents working on the instructions of the state government, is facing simultaneous charges at the magistrate court.