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Kogi Man Fined and Jailed over Facebook Post on COVID-19

A Kogi resident identified as Habibi Rabiu, has been handed a two months jail sentence for posting false information on his Facebook page.

Rabiu was arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services and charged to court over a post titled, “The rate at which fever is killing people in Kogi State is alarming.” The post was reportedly made during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in the country.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr M. A. Abaji in his argument in court, said the defendant acted contrary to Section 393 of the Kogi State Penal Code by intimidating people, creating fear and inciting people against the state government through his statement on Facebook.

He noted that the defendant raised a false alarm on the rate of death amid the pandemic in 2020. Abaji also pointed out that the state epidemiologist, who was invited to testify to ascertain Rabiu’s claims, disclosed that as at the time the defendant made the post on social media, the death rate in the state was normal.

The defence counsel, E .A. Iwu, however argued that the defendant acted based on emotion after his sister, who was diagnosed with malaria fever, died in the state.

Presiding magistrate, Chief Magistrate A.A. Agatha, in her judgement, sentenced the defendant to two months’ imprisonment with no fine option in addition to payment of N5,000 as stipulated by the law.

Abaji reportedly paid the money before he was moved to a custodial centre.

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