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A High Court sitting the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja has ordered the Nigeria Police to immediately release Chinonso Uba, a journalist who was arrested in Imo State.
Mr Uba, otherwise known as Nonso Nkwa, was whisked away on 27 July by the police, after he finished anchoring his morning programme on Ozisa FM, a radio station in Owerri, the state capital.
The Eastern Updates reports that operatives came from the Criminal Investigation Department of the Force Headquarters Abuja where they detained the journalist.
The Commissioner for Information in Imo State, Declan Emelumba, on 28 July, announced that the journalist was arrested for allegedly defaming the state governor, Hope Uzodinma.
Mr Emelumba claimed that the journalist alleged that Mr Uzodinma and former Niger Delta militant leader, Asari Dokubo, were behind killings and insecurity in the state.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo State Chapter, would later fault his arrest and demand his immediate release.
The group said the state government, rather than arrest, ought to have sued the journalist if they were convinced that he defamed the governor.
The police, after three weeks, arraigned the journalist at a Federal High Court in Abuja on two-count charge, on Wednesday.
Mr Uba was charged for allegedly making a false and defamatory video post on social media in June accusing Messrs Uzodinma and Dokubo of killing 100 youth and also burning houses in Imo with the intention to instigate residents of the state and Igbos against the governor.
The police told the court that the offence was contrary and punishable under Section 24 (1) (B) of the Cyber Crime Prohibition Act.
The journalist was also charged for allegedly making the social media post with the intention to bully, threaten or harass Mr Uzodinma over the accusation that the governor and Mr Dokubo carried out the killings.
The police also said the offence contravened Section 24 (2) (A) and punishable under Section 24 (2) (C) of the same Act.
The journalist pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The court declined the journalist’s bail application and adjourned the hearing until September, next month.
Meanwhile, the journalist had earlier, on 8 August, filed an ex parte application at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama, Abuja against the Inspector-General of Police (Respondent) demanding his release from detention.