➥ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Solomon Okedara v. Attorney General of The Federation (2019) – CA
by PipAr Chima
Court of Appeal – CA/L/174/18
➥ JUDGEMENT DELIVERED ON:
Thursday, the 28th day of February, 2019
➥ AREA(S) OF LAW
Definition of a crime;
➥ NOTABLE DICTA
⦿ DUTY OF A COURT IN CONSTRUING STATUTE VIS-A-VIS THE CONSTITUTION
It is proper to emphasize that the duty of the Court, in cases where the provisions of an Act enacted by the legislature are contested for reasons of being in conflict and therefore inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution, is to consider the provisions of the Constitution which are in issue and lay same side by side with the statute which is being challenged and resolve whether the statute is indeed in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution. – T. Abubakar JCA.
➥ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Tijjani Abubakar, J.C.A.
⦿ FOR THE APPELLANT
⦿ FOR THE RESPONDENT
➥ CASE HISTORY
The fulcrum of the Appellant’s suit before the lower Court is that the provisions of Section 24 (1) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention Etc.) Act, 2015 contravenes Section 36 (12) and 39 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and as such should be declared inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution.
The learned trial Judge dismissed the Appellant’s Suit for lacking in merit. The Appellant as Applicant instituted this suit by an Originating Summons and Written Address dated 14th of June, 2017 against the Respondent.
This is an appeal by the Applicant/Appellant.
➥ ISSUE(S) & RESOLUTION
I. Whether Section 24 (1) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention Etc.) Act, 2015, is vague and ambiguous, hence not a valid criminal provision?
A. A clear analysis of Section 45 of the Constitution will show that the section sets out to protect the interest of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or the rights and freedom of other persons. Both provisions of the cybercrimes Act and Section 45 of the Constitution set out to protect the privacy rights of citizens. I have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the intention of the legislature in enacting the Cybercrimes Act 2015 is in accord with the provisions of Section 45 of the Constitution.
B. Section 24 Sub-section 2 of the Act provides for causing to be sent materials that are grossly offensive, pornographic, indecent, obscene or of menacing character, or knowing them to be false for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger or obstruction, insult, enmity hatred ill will or needless anxiety … The offence is clearly defined and the punishment is also clearly stated in the law. In my humble understanding therefore the provisions of Section 24(1) of the Cybercrimes Act 2015 are not in conflict with the provisions of Sections 36 (12) and 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
➥ MISCELLANEOUS POINTS
➥ REFERENCED (STATUTE)
Sections 39, 45, Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended);
Sections 1, 24(1), Cybercrimes Act 2015;
➥ REFERENCED (CASE)
➥ REFERENCED (OTHERS)