We will Sustain War Against Fake News, Hate Speech -- Ebonyi Info Commissioner

By Celestine Okeh

Ebonyi State Commissioner for information and orientation Barr. Uchenna Orji have expressed the determination of the state government to sustain the war against fake news and hate speech and its purveyors in accordance with the extant laws.

Orji stated this on Monday while addressing journalist in Abakaliki, the state capital on the petition brought against Mr Godffery Chikwere, a former Technical Assistant (TA) on Media to Governor David Umahi, by the state Government over his activities on social media.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation said Godferry Chikwere’s activities on social media were against the State cybercrime prohibition law 012,2021.

According to the Commissioner, Godffery Chikwere published on social media among others things that “it is clear that the Nigeria Army is an arm of the arm forces and seriously losing respect from the public’’.

He noted that Chikwere, a former programme presenter at the Ebonyi State Broadcasting Corporation (EBBC), also mentioned that politicians would kill the youths and still use the youths to ascend to power.

Orji noted that these posts by Chikwere fake news, hate and incisive speeches that were capable of pitching the army as well as a government against the people. He revealed that to others has been prosecuted of similar offences and Chikwere will not be an exception.

Orji said, “My attention has been drawn to social media post and speculation that the office of the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation , Ebonyi state cause the arrest and detention of a journalists in Ebonyi state.

“I want to use this opportunity and medium to to categorically state that the person that is being referred to, Godffery Chikwere is not a journalist known to Ebonyi state. I had to confirm from the NUJ and they clearly stated that he is not a journalist.

“But to talk about it, the Ministry of Information in keeping with its mandate of ensuring orientations of the people against all forms of of bad habits and also in keeping with its duty of sensitizing the people and ensuring the implementation of the law we made, the Ebonyi state law on Cyber crime prohibition 2021 which is law 012 of 2021, we had to swing into action in ensuring that we track all persons that are spreading fake news either through publications or how so ever or any other means.

           Geoffery Chikwere

“Incidentally, this Godffery Chikwere happens to be one of those that we found to be in the habit of posting fake information and also spreading hate speech. As a matter of fact, Ebonyi state Government has passed a law on this and it is my duty as the Commissioner for Information to sensitize the members of the public and also ensuring the implementation of those laws. And it happened that Godffery Chikwere is one of the persons that have been suspects in this regard.

“Let me mention that we have had two cases where people were seen to be circulating fake information were arrested, they were quizzed. We have a case of a PA to a Vice Chancellor who was arrested, quizzed and was charged to court. So, the case of Godffery Chikwere cannot be treated exceptionally or separately. I want to enjoin members of the public to join us on the crusade against fake news and hate speech. It has been an evil wind that is doing us a lot of bad in the society”, he said.

Chikwere, popularly known as Baby Mouth a was arrested by the police few days ago following a petition against him by the State government

But he was said to be battling for his life at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki(AE-FUTHA) after he reportedly fell sick at the police headquarters, Abakaliki where he was being detained.

His wife, Onyinyechi, confirmed this to our Correspondent in Abakaliki, saying, “my husband started falling sick yesterday night when he was in the police station. So, he became worst and the police clinic couldn’t handle it. He is here in FETHA since this morninh".

The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Loveth Odah said she was not aware that Godffery Chikwere was transferred to AE-FUTHA over his failing health.

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