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Judge convicts Nigerian activist ‘I G Wala’ for criminal defamation, others

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A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has convicted an activist, Ibrahim Wala, popularly known as I G Wala.

Justice Yusuf Halilu of FCT High Court in Maitama found Mr Wala guilty on three out of the four charges filed against him by the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation.

The three charges for which he was found guilty include unlawful assembly, public incitement and criminal defamation of character.

The judge, however, dismissed the charge of criminal intimidation for lack of merit.

The activist was arraigned following a petition filed by the chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Abdullahi Mukhtar, alleging that Mr Wala uses his Facebook page to incite the public against him and defame his integrity and that of the commission he heads.

On the charge of unlawful assembly, Mr Wala was found guilty of using his organisation, the Citizens Action To Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN), to form an unlawful assembly. The judge ruled that the organisation was unregistered.

The judge said the prosecution “has been able to establish the offense of making an unlawful assembly.”

The judge also found Mr Wala guilty of public incitement, an offense contrary to section 114 of the penal code which deals with the breach of public peace.

Mr Yusuf also agreed with the prosecution that Mr Wala criminally defamed the chairman of NAHCON, Abdullahi Mohammed, after he alleged that the NAHCON boss “made N3 billion for himself” from the 2017 Hajj operations.

The judge said Mr Wala wrote on his Facebook page that he has documents to prove the allegation.

He, however, said the activist failed to provide the document to prove his claims in court.

“Where is the document proving N3 billion made by chairman hajj commission?

“Why has the accused person failed to tender such document now that he has been dragged before a court of law?” the judge said.

He said by his inability to provide relevant documents to prove his ‘huge allegations’, Mr Wala “has made the case of the prosecution less cumbersome”.

The judge will announce sentencing later today.

Mr Wala has led protests against issues like corruption and human rights violations in several parts of the country.




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