15th June, 2022
A resident of Lokoja, the capital of Kogi, Achile Rabiu has been sentenced to two months imprisonment for allegedly spreading fake news about the rate of death in Kogi at the height of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
Chief Magistrate A.A Agatha on Tuesday sentenced Rabiu to two months imprisonment with option of payment of N5,000 fine for peddling fake news on social media about the rate of death in Nigeria.
Magistrate Agatha said Rabiu had contravened section 393 of Kogi State penal code for posting false information on his Facebook timeline.
Rabiu’s problem started at the peak of Covid-19 pandemic when he took to his Facebook page to lament the rate at which people were dying from malaria fever in Kogi State. This was after he lost one of his sisters.
The Department of State Security, DSS had consequently arrested Rabiu and charged him to court.
The Prosecuting Counsel , Mr. M.A Abaji argued that the defendant acted contrary to section 393 of Kogi State penal code by intimidating people, creating fear and inciting people against the state government.
Abaji stated that the defendant had also raised false alarm in the state against the back drop of normal rate of death amidst Covid 19 pandemic in 2020.
He pointed out that the state Epidemiologist was invited to testify to ascertain the claims by Rabiu.
He noted that the State Epidemiologist said that as at the time of the Facebook posting, the death rate was normal contrary to Rabiu’s posting.
The defense Counsel, E .A Iwu argued that the defendant acted based on emotion after the death of his sister who died of malarial fever as at that moment.
He stated that his client was pained and in a sad mood when he posted that the rate at which fever is killing people is alarming
Trial Magistrate , Chief Magistrate, A.A .Agatha in her judgement sentenced Rabiu to two months with option of fine in addition to payment of N5,000.
The defendant was said to have paid N5,000 before he was moved to prison custody
It would be recalled that the Kogi State Government lived in denial of the reality of the coronavirus pandemic, insisting it was political and man made.