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Court quashes Ebonyi cybercrimes law

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital on Tuesday declared the controversial Ebonyi Cybercrimes Law 2021 , null, and void.

The Court ruling followed a suit by one Pascal Etu who sued Governor David over the controversial law.

Ebonyi State government in September 2021 the law controversial circumstances.

Apart from of the of Assembly, no journalist was when the law was enacted.

There was also no proof of the law going through public hearing before being passed.

It was also quickly and secretly accented to by Umahi almost immediately.

The public only became aware of the existence of the law when a social critic, Godfrey Chikwere was arrested by the Police for allegedly some sections of the law in October, 2021.

The Police were about to charge him to court when he suddenly slumped and was rushed to the .

Etu was arrested for allegedly the law just like of the People’s Democratic () in the State, Chika Nwoba.

Both were remanded in prison by the State Magistrate Court pending the determination of the allegations against them.

Nwoba was later granted by the court following outcry and condemnations that greeted his arrest.

But Etu was not so lucky as he is still in custody till with his matter suffering several adjournments.

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While the case against Etu was on in the State High Court, he instituted the matter against the State Government and four others in the Federal High Court in Abakaliki challenging the constitutionality of the law.

In the suit FCAI/CS/6/2022, Etu, through his lawyers, prayed the court to declare Ebonyi Assembly has no to make such laws.

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

The respondents in the mater include Ebonyi Governor, Ebonyi Assembly and the Attorney General of the 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.

In his ruling, The Presiding Judge, Justice Fatun Riman granted all the of the plaintiff.

The Judge while declaring the Ebonyi Cybercrimes Law 2021 unconstitutional, null and void also issued an order of injunction restraining the Ebonyi State government from continuing to enforce the law.

Justice Riman further held that the Ebonyi State House of Assembly had no constitutional powers to make such laws because the National Assembly had enacted the Cybercrimes Act in 2015 which is applicable in all the states of the federation.

The court also held that by virtue of cybercrimes being an item in the exclusive legislative list only the National Assembly can enact laws on it.

The court also aside all steps, actions, howsoever taken by the Ebonyi State Government in furtherance of or in the of the said Ebonyi Cybercrimes Law 2021.

, Etu’s lawyer, Mike Odo, said that the Court, through the judgement jas reaffirmed the constitutional right to fair hearing and freedom of expression of every individual.

He noted that people have the right to say what they want to say and push to the general public within the ambit of the law.

He expressed confidence that with the judgement the State High Court will free his client in the next adjourned date for the matter.

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