JUST IN: Court strikes down Ebonyi cybercrime law

The Federal High Court based in Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi state, on Tuesday declared the controversial Ebonyi Cyber ​​Crimes Act 2021 unconstitutional, null and void. The court ruling followed a lawsuit by a certain Pascal Etu who had sued the state governor, David Umahi, challenging the controversial law. Bottom The Ebonyi state government had enacted the controversial law in September 2021 under equally controversial circumstances. Aside from members of the House of Assembly, no journalists were present when the law was enacted, although there was no evidence that the law went through a public hearing before being passed. Mr. Umahi also quickly and secretly accentuated it almost immediately. The public only became aware of the law when, in October, a social critic, Godfrey Chikwere, was arrested by the police for allegedly violating sections of the law. Police were about to charge him in court when he suddenly collapsed and was rushed to hospital. Earlier this year, Mr. Etu was arrested for allegedly breaking the law, as was the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson in the state, Chika Nwoba. Both were sent to prison by the State Court of First Instance pending the determination of the charges against them. The court later granted Mr. Nwoba bail following protests and convictions that greeted his arrest. But Mr. Etu was not so lucky as he is still in prison custody to date and his case suffered several postponements. lawsuit against the law While the case against Mr. Etu is in the State High Court, he instituted the case against the state government and four others in the Federal High Court in Abakaliki, challenging the constitutionality of the law. In the lawsuit FCAI/CS/6/2022, Mr. Etu, through his lawyers, asked the court to declare that the Ebonyi State House of Assembly has no power to enact such laws. READ ALSO: Court will determine if SSS can prosecute teenager for alleged cyberbullying He also argued that the law is unconstitutional, null and void because it is contrary to the Cyber ​​Crimes Law approved by the National Assembly. The defendants in the matter include the Ebonyi State Governor, the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, and the Ebonyi State Attorney General as the first, second, and third defendants, respectively. Others are the Ebonyi State Police Commissioner and the State Security Services as the fourth and fifth defendants. Decision In his ruling, the presiding judge, Fatun Riman, granted all of the plaintiff’s sentences. The judge, while declaring the Ebonyi Cyber ​​Crimes Act 2021 unconstitutional, null and void, also issued an injunction restricting the Ebonyi State Government from further enforcing the law. The court further held that the Ebonyi State Legislative Assembly did not have the constitutional power to enact such laws because the National Assembly had enacted the Cyber ​​Crimes Law in 2015, which is applicable in all states of the federation. The court also held that since cybercrime is an item on the exclusive legislative list, only the National Assembly can enact laws on it. The court also annulled all steps, actions and procedures taken by the Ebonyi state government in furtherance or implementation of the said Ebonyi Cyber ​​Crimes Act 2021. In reaction, Etu’s attorney, Mike Odo, said that the court, through the ruling, has reaffirmed the constitutional right to a fair hearing and freedom of expression for every individual. He noted that people have the right to say what they want to say and push information to the general public within the scope of the law. He expressed his confidence that with the ruling the State Superior Court will release his client on the next date postponed by the matter. Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; JUST IN: Court strikes down Ebonyi cybercrime law