By John Akinfehinwa
A Magistrate Court sitting in Lokoja on Tuesday sentenced a middle-aged man, Habibu Achile Rabiu, to two months in prison with N5,000 fine, for posting unverified information on his Facebook timeline.
Rabiu, in his Facebook timeline, had alleged the alarming rate of deaths in Kogi State, caused by fever during the wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The trial Judge Chief magistrate, A.A Agatha, said Rabiu had contravened section 393 of Kogi State penal code for posting false information on his Facebook timeline.
The Department of State Security, DSS, had earlier arrested Rabiu and charged him to court.
The Prosecuting Counsel, Mr. M.A Abaji argued that the defendant acted contrary to section 393 of Kogi State penal code by intimidating people, creating fear and inciting people against the state government.
Abaji stated that the defendant has also raised false alarm in the state against the backdrop of normal rate of death amidst COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
He pointed out that the state Epidemiologist was invited to testify to ascertain the claims by Rabiu, noting that the State Epidemiologist said that as at the time of the Facebook posting, the death rate was normal contrary to Rabiu’s belief.
The defense Counsel, E.A Iwu argued that the defendant acted based on emotion after the death of his sister who died of malarial fever as at that moment.
He stated that his client was pained and in a sad mood when he posted that the rate at which fever is killing people was alarming
Trial Magistrate , Chief Magistrate, A.A Agatha in her judgement, sentenced Rabiu to two months with option of fine in addition to payment of N5,000.
The defendant was said to have paid N5,000 before he was moved to prison custody.