The Federal Government may file criminal charges against a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, and activist, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, over separate posts on social media about the purported raid of the home of the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Fani-Kayode, who has since apologized for the error, had said, “Why have the EFCC surrounded the home of CJN Onnoghen and why are they seeking to arrest him? These people want Nigeria to burn! Buhari call off your dogs before it is too late!”
Odumakin, who is also the spokesman for the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, had posted a video claiming that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had surrounded the home of the CJN.
A senior EFCC official told our correspondent that both Odumakin and Fani-Kayode would be invited and based on the outcome of investigations, they may be charged for breaching the Cyber Crime Act.
The source said the fake news could have caused serious violence, including the destruction of oil pipelines.
He said, “It is not enough for them to make apologies. They will be invited to explain their intention for spreading such fake news. They must tell us the source of their information.
“That news heated up the polity and could have caused the crisis. On Sunday a Niger Delta group had threatened to start bombing oil facilities if Onnoghen was harassed.
“Imagine if that group had started bombing pipelines because of that fake news? We will not condone this. There must be consequences for such actions and they will face the law.”
Section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015 states that anyone who knowingly publishes fake news for the purpose of causing a breach of peace will be liable to a jail term of three years or a fine of N7m or both.
It reads, “Any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent: commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than three years or to both such fine and imprisonment”.