Akwa Ibom Based Journalist Detained By Police Since August 17

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A journalist, Ime Sunday Silas, has been reportedly under detention by the Nigeria Police since 17 August, 2020

According to reports, the police in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, arrested Silas, an editor with the privately-owned Global Concord newspaper on charges of cybercrime.

Silas was arrested after he arrived in the Ikot Akpan Abia district of Uyo to meet a source, and officers detained him at a nearby police headquarters, according to Solomon Johnny, editor-in-chief of the newspaper.

On August 18, a magistrate court charged Silas under Section 24 of Nigeria’s 2015 cybercrime act, according to Johnny and a copy of the charge sheet.

The court has denied Silas bail on August 18, but his lawyers filed a new bail application on August 24, which was granted on September 10, Emmanuel Isangidoho, one of Silas’ lawyers said.

Despite being granted bail, Silas remains in the police headquarters as of today, according to Johnny.

If convicted, Silas could face up to three years in prison, a fine of up to 7 million naira, or both, according to the cybercrime act.

Silas’ charge sheet alleges that he violated Section 24 of the act related to “cyberstalking” by sending a message that included the title of an August 9 report published by The Profile about Martha Udom Emmanuel, the wife of Akwa-Ibom Governor Udom Emmanuel.

That report, titled “Exposed: Okobo PDP Chapter Chair links Gov Udom’s Wife with plot to blackmail Deputy Speaker,” alleged a blackmail scheme related to upcoming local council elections.for the purpose of causing

According to the charge sheet, Silas sent a “message” containing the report’s title, which constituted a crime of spreading information, “through a computer, knowing the same to be false, to cause annoyance, insult, hatred and ill will” against Martha Udom Emmanuel.