The Nigeria Police Force has arraigned the detained Owerri, Imo state-based radio journalist and rights activist, Chinonso Uba, popularly known as Nonso Nkwa, before a Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria.
Mr. Uba was abducted by armed men at Owerri, Imo state, on July 27, 2023, and flown to Abuja, where he has been detained without trial at the Police Force Headquarters, Abuja. His family said he has been denied access to his lawyer, family, and personal doctor.
Sources told NOHR that Mr. Uba was arraigned on Wednesday on two counts bordering on insulting Governor Hope Uzodinma and Asari Dokubo, leader of an armed militia. The police charge sheet, with number FHC/ABJ/CR/367/2023, between the Inspector General of Police and Chinonso Uba, states that Uba’s offense contravenes the Cyber Crime Prohibition Act.
When the charge was read to the accused journalist, he pleaded not guilty.
The charges read: “Count One: That you CHINONSO UBA ‘m’ of on or about the 24th day of June 2023 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court intentionally sent a message by means of computer and social media networks such as Facebook etc, made a video accusing Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and Asari Dokubo killed 100 (hundred) of Imo Youth and also burning houses in Imo State, with the intention of instigating Imo State people and Igbo Tribe worldwide against the Governor knowing the said information to be false and with intent to cause annoyance inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to him and thereby committed an offence contrary and punishable under Section 24 (1) (B) Cyber Crime Prohibition Act.
“Count two: That you CHINONSO UBA ‘m’ of on or about the 24th day of June 2023 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly and intentionally made and transmitted a video via your Facebook social media handle and or any communication through a computer system or network with the intention to bully, threaten or harass the Governor of Imo State Hope Uzodinma, that he and Asari Dokubo killed 100 (Hundred) of Imo Youth and also burned their houses with the intention of instigating the youth against him and such communication places him in fear of death, violence or bodily harm to him and members of his family and thereby committed an offence contrary to 24 (2) (A) and punishable under Section 24 (2) (C) of the Cyber Crime Prohibition Act.”
Meanwhile, the vacation judge reportedly denied Nkwa bail and ordered that he should remain in police custody till September when the court would resume.
The judge said Nkwa would at the time be arraigned in a proper court since his case was not an urgent one.