By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City
A 59 year old lawyer, Ogedengbe Oiseoruemi Ayodeji, was on Friday arraigned before an Oredo Magistrate Court, for allegedly publishing fake news on his facebook account about Edo University Iyamho.
The accused was arraigned on a four count-charge punishable under section 517,375, 517 and 59(1) of the criminal Code of the default, as applicable in Edo state respectively.
The prosecuting counsel, Thomas Ojo, told the Court that on June 22, the accued and others now at large with the intent to injured the reputation of Edo University, Iyamho unlawfully published a defamatory matter on his Facebook account name Ogedengbe Oisoruemi Ayodeji Uduanghe, titled press statement Friday 21, June 2019, NUC revokes Edo University Iyamho, operating licences.
” That you and others now at large did conspired among yourseles to publish fake news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public, thereby committing the offence punishable under section 517 of the Criminal Code,” he said.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges in Court while his counsel led by Peter E. Uwadiae pleaded with the Court to grant him bail.
Uwadiae who led 27 other cousel in the defence of the accused, told the Court that the accused is a legal practitioner and would not jump bail if granted.
He urged the Court to grant the accused bail on self recognition and that the Benin Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association will ensure that he attend trial.
The presiding magistrate, I .U. Iyoha granted the accused bail on self recognition and adjourned the case to September 3, for continuation of hearing.
Speaking with journalists after the case, the public relations officer of the Edo University, Iyamho, Bar. Betcher Ekhosihun, said the institution is owned by the Edo state government and does not need an operating license but recongnition by the National University Commission.
” The issue of establishing university in Nigeria is on concurrent list and that gives power to both the federal and state government to establish university, once that is done, they write to the NUC, that will issue recognition to the university and Edo University which is the 41state university has that recognition,”
He however cauntioned people against publishing fake and unverified news in social media as the law will definitely catch up with them.