What the law says about cyberbullying, police charge against Oriyomi Hamzat

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On Thursday, Muyiwa Adejobi, spokesperson for the Nigerian police, said Oriyomi Hamzat, a broadcaster, had been arrested in connection with a cyberbullying case under investigation.

Hamzat was arrested Thursday morning in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, along with Adebayo Yousuph, station manager, Agidigbo FM, founded by Hamzat.

Hamzat based the action on his consistent call for due diligence in the trial of businessman Rahman Adegoke Adedoyin for the death of Timothy Adegoke, which occurred under questionable circumstances. But responding via a tweet, Adejobi said the popular Ibadan-based broadcaster was arrested by Force Intelligence Bureau agents who had a warrant.

“Oriyomi’s arrest follows his refusal to individually honor the police invitation, which prompted the police to obtain a warrant for his arrest,” he said.

READ MORE: Police explain reason for arrest of journalist Oriyomi Hamzat

“We are reviewing the written petition against him over his breach of the Cybercrimes Act 2015, and necessary steps will be taken to bring justice to the matter.”

Hamzat was released on Thursday evening but investigations are continuing.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS (CYBER CRIME ACT, 2015)

Part 3, point 24 of Cybercrime Act addresses offenses related to cyberbullying. It reads:

24. Any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or otherwise through computer systems or networks that -‐

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

READ MORE: FIB arrests radio presenter Oriyomi Hamzat ‘over comments on Timothy Adegoke murder’

(2) Any person who knowingly or intentionally transmits or causes the transmission of any communication through a computer system or network -‐ (a) to intimidate, threaten or harass another person, where such communication square

(i) in the case of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection to a term of imprisonment of 10 years and/or a minimum fine of N25,000,000.00; and
(ii) in the case of paragraphs (c) and (d) of this sub-section, to imprisonment for 5 years and/or a minimum fine of N15,000,000.00.

Timothy Adegoke died under mysterious circumstances in November. He had traveled to Ile-Ife from Abuja hoping to take exams at the OAU Distance Learning Center. He was first reported missing on November 7, but his body was soon found near the Hilton Hotel and Resorts, Ile-Ife, a hotel owned by Adedoyin.

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