Court frees Nigerian blogger accused of publishing defamatory claims against Akpabio

The blogger, Morgan Ukpong (middle) with his lawyer, Mr Ewa Okpo (right), after the court dismissed the case against him
The blogger, Morgan Ukpong (middle) with his lawyer, Mr Ewa Okpo (right), after the court dismissed the case against him

A Federal High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Wednesday dismissed a case of criminal defamation filed against a Nigerian blogger, Morgan Ukpong.

Mr Ukpong publishes a popular blog, Sitippe Ke Akwa Ibom, which focuses on the happenings around Akwa Ibom State.

He was arrested in December last year, detained for two nights in the police cell, and later arraigned before a magistrate for allegedly publishing defamatory materials against Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state.

The police subsequently withdrew the case from the magistrate court and filed fresh charges at the high court against the blogger.

The judge, A. Okeke, dismissed the case for want of diligent prosecution after the police failed to present a single witness against Mr Ukpong; the complainant, Mr Akpabio, repeatedly failed to appear in court, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

“Morgan was arrested on a petition by Godswill Akpabio, from the evidence the prosecution forwarded to us in court, we have a document bearing his name, handwriting, and signature,” Ewa Okpo, one of the lawyers who defended Mr Morgan told PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday night.

“Nsima Ekere, the former managing director of the NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission), was also a complainant in the case,” Mr Okpo said.

The blogger, Mr Morgan, told PREMIUM TIMES he was happy the case was now over.

“I thank the judiciary for remaining the hope of a common man,” he said. “The case against me was politically motivated because the website they said published the story is not even mine.”

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