Barely 24 hours after his release from prison custody, Deji Adeyanju, Convener of Concerned Nigerians, has been rearrested and arraigned before a Magistrate Court in Abuja on a two-count charge bordering on cyberstalking inciting disturbance and criminal defamation.

He was taken to court by men of Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (FSARS) at 12:26pm. The offence is contrary to Section 391 of Penal Code and section 24 (1) of CyberCrime Prohibition and Protection Act 2015.

The latest charge came on the heels of a petition written by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, against Adeyanju for "promoting terrorism on social media over Melete attacks on the Nigerian Army".

Idiat Akanni, the Presiding Magistrate, adjourned the matter to Thursday, December 6, 2018 for ruling on the bail application filed by the defence counsel, Barrister Tolu Babaleye, who appeared alongside S.M. Oyeghe. 

Deji will remain in Police custody pending the determination of the matter.

Adeyanju’s detention has drawn outcry from rights groups and individuals.

What is Cyber Stalking?

Section 58 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act, 2015 (hereinafter referred to as the Cybercrimes Act) defines cyber stalking as "a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear".

The offence is created by Section 24 of the Cybercrimes Act. Section 24 (1) provides in part as follows:

A person who knowingly sends message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that -

(a) is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any such message to be so sent, or,

(b) he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent, commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7,000,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or both."

Under Section 24 (2), "A person who knowingly or intentionally transmits or causes the transmission of any communication (1) Any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that-

(a) is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any such message or matter to be so sent; or

(b) he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent: commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7,000,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(2) Any person who knowingly or intentionally transmits or causes the transmission of any communication through a computer system or network -

(a) to bully, threaten or harass another person, where such communication places another person in fear of death, violence or bodily harm or to another person;

(b) containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to harm the person of another, any demand or request for a ransom for the release of any kidnapped person, to extort from any person, firm, association or corporation, any money or other thing of value; or

(c) containing any threat to harm the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value:

commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction —

(i) in the case of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection to imprisonment for a term of 10 years and/or a minimum fine of N25,000,000.00; and

(ii) in the case of paragraph (c) and (d) of this subsection, to imprisonment for a term of 5 years and/or a minimum fine of N15,000,000.00.

through a computer system or network -

(a) to bully, threaten or harass another person where such communication places another person in fear of death, violence or bodily harm to another person.

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