Okoi Obono-Obla, the special assistant to the president on prosecution, has written to the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police seeking the probe of an alleged peddler of false claim of the death of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Acknowledgment copies of the separate letters addressed to the Director General of the DSS, Mr. Yusuf Bichi, and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, were obtained by The PUNCH on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.
Copies of the letters dated November 14, 2018, were received at both the DSS and Police Force Headquarters in Abuja on November 6, 2018.
Obono-Obla, whose office is domiciled in the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, specifically informed the heads of the security agencies in his petitions that one Bishop Eze Orieke made the false claim with purported documents from the London Bridge Hospital (Regional Medical Laboratory) to back it on the wall of a Facebook group called Ohafia Political Forum.
“The said documents are attached herewith for your attention and consideration,” the letter reads in part.
“It is a notorious fact and incontrovertible proof that his excellency, Muhammadu Buhari is not dead but very much alive and kicking.”
He added that the post on Facebook and the documents attached to it by the said Orieke “are fake and calculated to cause panic, disaffection and undermine national security.”
Copies of the documents, which were allegedly attached to the Facebook post and which Obono-Obla forwarded with his petitions to the security agencies, included a purported death certificate issued by the National Population Commission indicating that Buhari died of cardiac arrest in Abuja on September 19, 2017.
“It is ill-motivated, distasteful and made in extreme bad faith,” Obono-Obla said of the documents in his petitions.
According to him, the act violated the provisions of section 24(1)(a),(b) and (2)(a),(b),(c)(i),(ii) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition & Prevention etc) Act, 2015.
Offences under the said provision carry between three to 10 years imprisonment with or without fines ranging between N7 million and N15 million.
“In the light of the above, I respectfully urge you to investigate this matter,” Obono-Obla stated.
Our correspondent’s search of the Facebook accounts of both Bishop Eze Orieke and the Ohafia Political Forum did not yield a positive result.
Also, repeated attempts to contact the said Orieke through a phone number supplied in the petitions as his were also futile.
The repeated calls made to the telephone line indicated that the contact could not be reached.
The legal provisions which the suspect allegedly flouted according to Obono-Obla include, “(1) 24. (1) Any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that-
“(a) is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any such message or matter to be so sent; or
“(b) he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent: commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7 million or imprisonment for a term of not more than three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
“(2) Any person who knowingly or intentionally transmits or causes the transmission of any communication through a computer system or network –
“(a) to bully, threaten or harass another person, where such communication places another person in fear of death, violence or bodily harm or to another person.”
“(b) containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to harm the person of another, any demand or request for a ransom for the release of any kidnapped person, to extort from any person, firm, association or corporation, any money or other thing of value; or
“(c) containing any threat to harm the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value: commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction-
“(i) in the case of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection to imprisonment for a term of 10 years and/or a minimum fine of N25,000,000.00; and
“(ii) in the case of paragraph (c) and
“(d) of this subsection, to imprisonment for a term of five years and/or a minimum fine of N15 million.”