A 59-year-old lawyer, Ogedengbe Oiseoruemi Ayodeji, has been arraigned before an Oredo Magistrate Court, for allegedly publishing defamatory matters and fake news on his Facebook account about Edo State University, Iyamho.
The accused was arraigned on a four count-charge of publishing defamatory matters, fake news among others, punishable under the Criminal Code as applicable in Edo state.
The prosecuting counsel, Thomas Ojo, told the Court that “on June 22, the accued and others now at large with the intent to injure the reputation of Edo University, Iyamho, unlawfully published a defamatory matter on his Facebook account named ‘Ogedengbe Oisoruemi Ayodeji Uduanghe’, titled ‘press statement Friday 21, June 2019, NUC revokes Edo University Iyamho, operating licences’.
“That you and others, now at large, did conspired among yourselves to publish fake news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public, thereby committing the offence punishable under section 517 of the Criminal Code,” he said.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges in Court while his counsel, led by Peter E. Uwadiae, pleaded with the Court to grant him bail.
Uwadiae, who led 27 other counsels in the defence of the accused, told the Court that the accused is a legal practitioner and would not jump bail if granted.
He urged the Court to grant the accused bail on self recognition and that the Benin Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association will ensure that he attend trial.
The presiding magistrate, I .U. Iyoha granted the accused bail on self recognition and adjourned the case to September 3, for continuation of hearing.
Speaking with journalists after the hearing, the Public Relations Officer of the Edo State University, Iyamho, Bar. Betcher Ekhosihun, said the institution is owned by the Edo state government and does not need an operating license but recongnition by the National University Commission.
“The issue of establishing a university in Nigeria is on concurrent list which gives power to both the federal and state government to establish universities, once that is done, they write to the NUC, that will issue recognition to the university and Edo University, which is the 41st state university, has that recognition.”