On the 18th day of November 2022, Aminu Adamu Muhammed, a student of Federal University Dutse, Jigawa State was arrested by the security operatives. Muhammed, a final-year student in the Department of Environmental Management and Toxicology, in June 2022 posted on twitter that the First Lady had suddenly added weight after spending the money that is meant for the poor. The social media platform was awashed with this news and the First Lady has been criticised for taking law into her hands.This article will examine the legality or otherwise of the First Lady action.
The Position of the Law
The instance case falls under libel. Libel is a defamatory statement which is in written form. To win a case of libel, the person must prove the following
(a)that there is a publication by the defendant.
(b) that the publication is referring to the plaintiff
(c) that the publication is defamatory of the plaintiff.
The other cause of action is cyber bullying under the Cybercrimes ( Prevention and Prohibition) Act.
Cyber bullying has been defined as an act of harming or harassing a person using information technology thereby using insulting remarks and threatening messages sent by e-mail or spreading rumours about the person either by e-mails or social networking site. Cyber stalking and cyber bullying are sometimes used interchangeably. The Act made use of the expression cyber stalking.
The Act criminalizes and provides for a punishment of not more than N7,000,000.00 fine or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment to any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message by means of computer which is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character having knowing same to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another. This is contained in Section 24 of the Cybercrime Act. Cyber bullying is a criminal offence in Nigeria.
There is a general saying that where one person’s right stop that is where the other person begins. The constitution particularly section 39 of the 1999 constitution provides for Right to Freedom of Expression however the right is not absolute.The world is now a global village and care has to be taken on how posts and comments are made on social media platform. Cyber crime Act has been passed into law since 2015 and it is now a criminal offence to bully people on social media.