Court Sentences Activist to 12 Years Imprisonment for Criminal Defamation


imagesA Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Abuja, on April 15, 2019 sentenced an activist, Ibrahim Wala, popularly known as ‘I G Wala’, to 12 years imprisonment for criminal defamation and related offences without an option of fine.

The presiding judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, found him guilty on three out of the four count charges preferred against him by the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation.

The three charges for which he was found guilty are unlawful assembly, public incitement and criminal defamation of character, while the judge dismissed the charge of criminal intimidation for lack of merit.

The activist was arraigned following a petition filed by Prosecution Counsel, Mr Labaran Magaji, on behalf of the Executive Chairman of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Malam Abdullahi Muhammad, on April 4, alleging that Ibrahim used his Facebook page to incite the public against him and defame his integrity and that of the Commission he heads.

Ibrahim was alleged to have, in a post on his Facebook page, accused Malam Muhammad of fraudulently making N3 billion for himself from the 2017 Hajj (Muslim Pilgrimage) operation.

Justice Halilu found Ibrahim guilty of public incitement in contravention of section 114 of the penal code which deals with the breach of public peace; unlawful assembly, for using his organisation, the Citizens Action to Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN), to form an unlawful assembly, on the ground that the organisation was unregistered; and for criminal defamation for allegedly accusing Mallam Muhammad of fraudulently making N3 billion for himself without proof.