Nigerian Journalist Released on Bail after Nearly Four Months in Prison

Mr. Saint Mienpamo Onitsha, founder NAIJA Live TV

On February 1, 2024, Mr. Saint Mienpamo Onitsha, founder of the privately owned online broadcaster, NAIJA Live TV, was released on bail after spending nearly four months in jail without trial.

Mr. Onitsha was arrested by operatives of the Nigerian Police in October 2023, and charged with cyberstalking under section 24 of Nigeria’s Cybercrimes Act and defamation under the Criminal Code Act. The charge sheet cited a September report about tensions in the southern Niger Delta region.

On December 4, 2023, a Federal High Court in Abuja heard his bail application and granted him bail on January 25, 2024 with a condition that he provides two sureties with a bond of 10 million naira. The court also ordered that the residence of the sureties must be verified by the court registrar and that the sureties must submit documents proving they own landed property in Abuja, as well as their recent passport photographs.

He is billed to appear in court on March 19, 2024. If convicted, he faces a penalty of 25 million naira and/or up to 10 years in jail on the cyberstalking charges, as well as potential imprisonment for two years for charges of defamation and the publication of defamatory matter under the Criminal Code Act.