By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
A 59-year-old lawyer, Ogedengbe Oiseoruemi Ayodeji, has been arraigned before an Oredo Magistrate Court for de-marketing Edo University, Iyamho.
The accused who is facing a four-count charge, had few months ago on Facebook account published offensive campaign against the institution.
The offence is punishable under section 517,375, 517 and 59(1) of the Criminal Code of the default, as applicable in Edo State respectively.
The Prosecution, Thomas Ojo, told the court that on June 22, the accused and others (now at large) with the intent to injured the reputation of Edo University, Iyamho unlawfully.
He said the accused 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 yourselves 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, however, 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 counsel in the defence of the accused, pleaded with 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-recognizance and that the Nigeria Bar Association, Benin branch would ensure that he attend trial.
The presiding Magistrate, I .U. Iyoha, granted the accused bail on self-recognizance and adjourned the case to September 3, 2019 for hearing.
Speaking with journalists after the case, the Public Relations officer of the Edo University, Iyamho, Bar. Betcher Ekhosihun, reaffirmed that the institution is owned by the Edo state government and does not need an operating license, but recognition 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 41 State University has that recognition,”
He, however, cautioned people against publishing fake and Unverified news in social Media as the law will definitely catch up with the accused persons.