Austin Okai vs Gov. Bello; Federal High Court Set to Try Blogger Oct. 12

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By Rashida Olawunmi.
Despite wrong filing of proceeding observed by defense counsel in a case filed by Kogi State government against popular social blogger, Comrade Austin Usman Okai‎, the Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday ruled that it will proceed to institute cyber crime and other related offences against him.
The presiding judge, Justice Ndahi Auta handed down the controversial ruling at the continued hearing of the case in Lokoja today ‎and adjourned  for proper hearing till October 12.
Justice Ndahi fell in line with the Kogi state government whose idea to unilaterally clamp the voice of opposition behind bars, particularly the major ones in Kogi ‎like Austin Okai who had insisted on the payment of workers salaries and pensions as well as good governance.
‎Comrade Okai was represented by his counsel, Jibrin Okutepa(SAN) who argued strongly on the insistence to commence the trial of the social crusader who was petitioned by faceless individuals and not the state government, insisting that the case lacked merit.
Comrade Okai was clamped down by Kogi government ‎on the premise of inciting the public to cause public disorder by placing series of instigating comments against the deliberate ploy of the state government to downsize the state workforce through endless screening and verification of workers and pensioners.
World over and in Nigeria‎, social crusaders, civil society groups and freedom fighters had been the hope of democratic practices and good governance. They have constantly fought against activities of people in government that is inimical to the welfare of the masses and the governed. However, this effort is met with military junta-styled response in Kogi state.
Okai who was earlier granted bail by a magistrate court and rearrested at the court premises by security agents working on the instructions of the state government is facing similar charges simultaneously at the magistrate court. A case that is obviously politically motivated and a grand style to intimidate the voice of the people.

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