Court Fixes Judgment for December 2 in Suit Challenging Cybercrime Act


A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed judgment for December 2, 2016 in a suit instituted by Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) and Enough is Enough (EIE Nigeria) challenging the constitutionality of some provisions of the Cybercrime Act.

In the suit filed on their behalf by Mr. Olumide Babalola,  May 23, 2016, the three non-governmental organizations are asking the Court to declare sections 24 and 38 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention e.t.c.) Act 2015 unconstitutional as it violates the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by section 39 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Named as respondent are the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Assembly and the Inspector-General of Police.

Justice M.B Idris adjourned the suit for judgment after hearing final arguments by Mr. Babalola and Mrs. I.O.  Obimakinde, who appeared for the Attorney-General of the Federation.

Despite being served the court processes, neither the National Assembly nor the Inspector-General of Police was represented in court.

However, Mrs. Obimakinde had entered a “conditional appearance”, contending that the suit does not disclose any reasonable cause of action against the Attorney-General of the Federation, that he is not a necessary party for the effectual and proper determination of the suit and that he ought not to have been sued at all.

In a counter-affidavit in opposition to the suit, Mr. Keshinro Adedamola, a litigation officer in the Federal Ministry of Justice, noted that the Attorney-General of the Federation is not the legislative arm of Nigeria, adding that it is elementary that the legislative powers of the Federation are vested in the National Assembly and not part of the constitutional functions of the Attorney-General.

He contended that the suit constitutes an abuse of court process as its subject matter is not justiceable.