The Federal High Court in Lagos Thursday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of an online publisher, Seun Oloketuyi.
He was arraigned by the Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU) for allegedly publishing a false report that Fidelity Bank Managing Director, Nnamdi Okonkwo, impregnated the bank’s head of marketing.
He was granted bail for N3 million with two sureties, but failed to turn up Thursday for his trial.
Oloketuyi’s lawyer, Uchenna Akingbade, said the accused person was absent because he was sick, but Justice Jude Dagat said there was no medical report to justify the accused person’s absence.
Revoking the bail granted Oloketuyi, he said: “There is no medical report before the court to show that the accused is sick, and his sureties are not present. In the circumstance, the bail is hereby revoked, and a bench warrant is issued against the accused person,” the judge said.
Oloketuyi’s lead counsel, Dr Muiz Banire (SAN), had faulted the criminal charge, saying the complainant should have sued for libel since defamation is a civil matter.
Banire said the SFU also had no business arraigning the blogger because he was not involved in any act of fraud.
The police said the accused published the report on his website www.naijahottestgist.com.
Oloketuyi, organiser of the Best of Nollywood Awards (BON), was arraigned on a two-count charge.
Count one reads in part: “That you, Seun Oloketuyi ‘m’ on or about June 2015 did knowingly or intentionally send a message and other matters by means of computer systems or network on one Nnamdi Okonkwo, the Managing Director/CEO of Fidelity Bank Plc which you know to be false, for the purpose of causing him annoyance, insult and ill-will on www.naijahottestgist.com.”
In count two, Oloketuyi was accused of publishing “defamatory matters” against Okonkwo “with malice” while knowing that the information was false.
Prosecution counsel, Olakanmi Omisope, said the alleged offence contravenes Section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition) Act, 2015 and Section 375 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38. Oloketuyi pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The story claimed that Okonkwo impregnated the bank’s “top marketer” known as Justina, which resulted in her husband, Ben, leaving their matrimonial home.
Oloketuyi had apologised and retracted the story via www.bestofnollywood.tv.
Justice Dagat adjourned till March 1.