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Court declares Ebonyi House of Assembly cybercrime law unconstitutional

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THE Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital has declared the Ebonyi Cybercrimes Law No 12 of 2021, enacted by the state’s Assembly unconstitutional, null and void.

  Recall that Mr Paschal Etu was arrested last year by security agents on the allegation that he was using fake accounts to be writing false information on social media and has been in police net for months for alleged violation of the perilous Cyber Crime Law enacted through the back door by the members of House of Assembly.

 And no Journalist was present when the law was enacted, even as there was no proof of the law going through public hearing before being passed and accented by the state government  

   The public only became aware of the existence of the law when in October, a social critic, Godfrey Chikwere and Chika Nwoba was arrested by the Police for allegedly flouting some sections of the law. The Police were about to charge them to court.

Both were remanded in prison by the state magistrate court pending the determination of the allegations against them.

  Mr Nwoba was later granted bail by the court following outcry and condemnations that greeted his arrest. But Etu was not as lucky as he is still in prison custody till date with his matter suffering several adjournments.

  While the case against Mr Etu was on at the State High Court, he instituted the matter against the state government and four others at the Federal High Court in Abakaliki, challenging the constitutionality of the law. In the suit FCAI/CS/6/2022, Mr Etu through his lawyers prayed the court to declare that the Ebonyi State House of Assembly has no powers to make such laws.

  He also argued that the law is unconstitutional, null and void as it runs contrary to the Cybercrimes Act passed by the National Assembly.

  The respondents in the matter include the Governor of Ebonyi state, Ebonyi State House of Assembly and the Attorney General of Ebonyi State as first, second and third respondents, respectively.

   Others are Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State and Department of State Security Services as fourth and fifth defendants.

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