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27 Jul 2017

APC member accused of using Facebook post to attack Saraki’s 2019 ambition

A 37-year-old civil servant in Kwara State, Mr. Biodun Baba, was on Thursday arraigned before Magistrate Court in Ilorin, Kwara State, presided over by Mr. Ahmad Dasuki.
Biodun Baba
Baba, who is said to be a primary school teacher and a member of the All Progressives Congress, was accused of making uncomplimentary and inciting post on his Facebook against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

The offences, according to the Judicial (NR) Form 2 issued by the court were contrary to sections 113, 114, 393, 394 of the Penal Code of Northern Nigeria; and sections 883 and 204 of the Criminal Code Act.

The complainant, Jimoh Adesina, who is the state’s Senatorial Chairman, Kwara Central Senatorial District, Ilorin, in a direct criminal complaint, accused Baba, who is of Ile Kolawole Gambari Ward 1, Ilorin East Local Government Area of the state, of offences bordering on criminal act, inciting disturbance, disturbance of public peace, injurious falsehood, printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory and insulting to a religion.

He said, “Since July, 2017, the accused through his Facebook wall, has been inciting the public against the representative of the APC at the Upper chambers representing Kwara-Central Senatorial District, Dr. Olubukola Saraki, the incumbent Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Baba has been asserting undue influence on innocent persons which is a threat to public peace by spreading falsehood which has caused and still causing disaffection, pandemonium within the citizens of Kwara State and beyond, by disparaging the
person of the Senate President, the good people of Kwara-Central Senatorial District, which he represents, Kwarans, party supporters and loyalist and on a larger spectrum and by extension, bringing the revered position of the Senate President to disrepute.

“The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the dissemination of false and untrue information accentuated with malice about the third citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the whole world, urging the public not to cast vote for him as a Senator in 2019 in the column of his FB of July 3, 2017 by 9.54pm.

“The statement in fact is credited to the accused person after necessary investigation was carried out.”

A twist however emerged after the matter was called up.

Counsel to the complainant, Mr. Sikiru Solagberu, informed the court that his client wrote him a letter to withdraw the case from the court.

The complainant’s counsel, after reading the letter to Dasuki, said he received the letter on July 26, 2017 informing him to withdraw the case against Baba.

He cited Section 248 of the Criminal Procedure Act, Cap 41, Laws of the Federation 2004 to support the application for withdrawal; adding that the instruction of Adeshina to withdraw the case was as a result of intervention by well-meaning Nigerians.

According to the letter, Ilorin Emirate Traditional Council, traditional institutions from various communities in the state, party loyalists and supporters had intervened in the matter.

He urged the court to grand his application for the withdrawal of the case.

Counsel to the accused, Mr Sambo Muritala, said his client would, ordinarily, not object to the complainant’s letter to withdraw. He however said that in a situation of ‘non compoundable offence,’ it is safer for the complainant’s counsel to make proper application before the court and support it with a ‘weighty affidavit.’

He stated that coming by way of proper application and affidavit will demonstrate the wish of the complainant to compound the said non compoundable offence, adding that this will help the court in future record.

Muritala submitted that the complaint of the complainant was an abuse of court process and frivolous.

“The Court will be properly armed to give consequential order, which is the dismissal of the case,” Muritala added.

Replying to Muritala’s submission, Solagberu said there was no abuse of court process in Adeshina’s action before the court.

He also submitted that the suit was not a civil matter to warrant deposing to affidavit.

“There is nothing in Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Act and Criminal Procedure Code that enjoin a complainant to depose to an affidavit before a case is withdrawn from the court,” he added.

He further said the complainant’s letter before the court has satisfied the conditions for withdrawal of cases of this nature.

“If a party says he wants to withdraw in a criminal case, the court should use its instrumentality to assist the parties to withdraw,” he argued.

Dasuki,, after listening to the arguments, later adjourned the matter till August 3 for ruling on the application to withdraw the case.

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