Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has granted bail to the Bayelsa-based news blogger and owner of Naija Live TV, Mr. Saint Mienpamo Onitsha.
Recall that on November 2, 2023, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered Onitsha’s remand at the Kuje Custodial Centre over alleged defamation and cyberstalking against the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major General Barry Ndiomu (Retd).
Onitsha faced charges in the Federal High Court, Abuja, for alleged cyberstalking in suit numbered FJC/ABJ/CR/492/2023 between the Inspector-General of Police as the complainant and Mienapamo Onitsha Saint as the defendant. He was later remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre following his arraignment.
During the bail application hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Victor Okoye, opposed the bail application, raising doubts about the possibility of the defendant jumping bail.
The defense counsel, Benjamin A. Ogbara, argued that despite the prosecution’s unfounded opposition, the court has discretionary power to grant bail.
After listening to the submissions, Justice Nwite granted bail to Saint Mienpamo Onitsha pending the determination of the trial, stating that the defendant had shown willingness to defend the case and cooperate with the court.
Justice Emeka Nwite also remarked that t. was no concrete evidence before the court supporting the assertion of the defendant jumping bail.
He said, “I am granting the defendant bail in the interest of justice.”
Conditions of bail include a payment of N10 million, two sureties, one possessing a landed property within the jurisdiction (verified by the Deputy Registrar), and the second surety being a responsible citizen of the country. Both sureties, along with the counsels, must deposit two copies of their recent photographs with the Deputy Chief Registrar, and the residence of the sureties must be verified by the court registrar.
The case was adjourned to March 19, 2024, for trial.
The defendant is also accused and standing trial on a three-count charge of alleged willful libel, threat, causing danger, and insult against the PAP Interim Administrator.
When the charges were read, the accused person pleaded not guilty. The charges state, in part, “That you Mienpamo Onitsha Saint…offence punishable under Section 24 (1) (b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015” and “That you Mienpamo Onitsha Saint…offence punishable under Section 24 (2) (a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.”