COURTROOM NEWS 16/06/2022
Court Remands Blogger Over Claims NCDMB Boss Offered Him N10m Inducement
A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa yesterday remanded a Bayelsa-based blogger, Ogidi Bars, for publishing a report where he claimed that the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr Simbi Wabote offered him N10 million to testify against one Mr Jackson Ude in court, Tribune Online Report.
Our correspondent gathered that the said blogger is the publisher of Track News Online and was arraigned in court by the Department of State Security (DSS) on two-count charges bordering on cyberstalking.
According to the charge, Bara had allegedly accused Wabote of offering him the sum of N10 million to lure him to testify in Wabote’s favour in a defamation suit filed by the NCDMB Executive Secretary against Mr Jackson Ude.
Count one of the charges has it that “CYBERSTALKING, contrary to and punishable under Section 24(1)b of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015, you OGIDI BEN BARA on 11th February 2022 caused false information to be disseminated via various online newspaper outfits including THE EAGLE ONLINE, which you knew to be false.
“To wit that the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote offered you the sum of Ten Million Naira (N10,000,000) for the purpose of luring you to testify in his favour in an alleged defamation suit filed by him against one Jackson Ude. This publication caused annoyance, enmity, hatred and ill will towards the said Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote.
“COUNT two, CYBERSTALKING, contrary to and punishable under Section 24(1)b of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015, you, OGIDI BEN BARA on 6th May 2022 via your online newspaper outfit, TRACK NEWS, disseminated false information which you knew to be false.
“To wit- that the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote in connivance with Shell Petroleum Development Company excluded the people of Ekeremor Local Government from contracts at the East Area oilfields.”
It was learnt that when Bara pleaded not guilty to the charges, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Victor Uchendu, sought an adjournment to enable DSS to open its case.
Mr Semedie Peter, the defence counsel, however, urged the court to grant Bara bail on the ground that his client has been in the custody of the DSS for 10 days, but Uchendu argued that he needs time to respond to the bail application.
The trial Judge, Justice Isa Dashen, adjourned the case until June 17 for the Court to hear the bail application and continuation of trial, and ordered that Bara be remanded at the Yenagoa Correctional Facility.