A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Anyigba, Kogi State, has sentenced one Mallam Ogwu Momoh and Mr. Menyaga F. Idoga to prison for defaming one Dr. Nuhu Ahmed, who was recently appointed the Registrar of Kogi State University, Anyigba.
The convicts were arraigned before the Court for the offences of criminal conspiracy and defamation, contrary to sections 97 and 392 of the Penal Code Law of Kogi State, 2019 based on direct criminal complaint of the said Dr. Nuhu Ahmed.
The two defendants had in 2019 authored a letter which they addressed to a company called ATC wherein they (the defendants) described the Complainant as a “Forger” and a “Deceit”, and further warned the company to desist from having dealings with the complainant in relation to the complainant’s family land where the company’s aerial mast was mounted.
Aggrieved by the content of the said letter, the complainant in the year 2020, filed a direct criminal complaint against the defendants.
The case was later taken over for prosecution by S.O. Akobe, Esq., a Legal Officer in the Kogi State Ministry of Justice.
Delivering her judgment on Thursday,19th August, 2021, the presiding Magistrate, Mrs. Blessing Kabo, Esq., in a judgment that lasted for about two hours, found of a fact that the two defendants admitted under cross-examination during their trial that they do not have any document(s) to back up their allegation of forgery and deceit against the complainant.
The Court therefore, held that the defendants acted in a reckless manner to have referred to the complainant as a “forger” and a “deceit” in the letter written by them without facts to back same.
Having made several findings from the evidence and exhibits placed before the Court, the Magistrate held that the prosecution proved its case against the defendants beyond reasonable doubt, and consequently found them guilty of the offences of criminal conspiracy and defamation as charged.
The Court thereafter, sentenced the two defendants to 14 days imprisonment, and to also pay fine of seven thousand Naira only on each of the offences.
After the judgment, both the Prosecuting Counsel, S.O. Akobe, Esq. and the Defence Counsel, Isiaka Ibrahim, Esq. commended the Magistrate for her industry and erudition while describing the judgment as “a very well researched judgment.”
The offence of defamation under the Kogi State Penal Code 2019 attracts imprisonment term which may extend to seven years and a fine of seven thousand naira.