The court clenched that only the National Assembly can legislate on cybercrimes with reasons that it is an artefact on the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The Federal High Court sedentary in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, on Tuesday, declared the controversial Ebonyi Cybercrimes Law 2021 unconstitutional, invalid and revoked. The court’s ruling accompanied a suit by one Pascal Etu who had prosecuted the state governor, exacting the moot law. The Ebonyi State Government had in September 2021 enacted the controversial law in absolutely controversial conditions. Excluding the House of Assembly members, no journalist was visible when the law was ratified even as there was no evidence of such law going through a public hearing before it was streamed. It was also hastily and discreetly underlined to by Mr Umahi almost immediately. The masses only became aware of the existence of such law when in October, a social critic, Godfrey Chikwere, was copped by the police for allegedly violating some sections of the law. The police were set to charge him in court when he slumped suddenly and was rushed to the hospital. Earlier this year, Mr Etu was picked up for allegedly flouting the law, same as the spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the State, Chika Nwoba. Both were remanded in prison by the State Magistrate Court pending the determination of the allegations against them. Mr Nwoba was later granted bail by the court following the outcry and condemnations that greeted his arrest.
But Mr Etu was unlucky as he is still in prison custody till date with his case suffering several adjournments. While the case against Mr Etu is on at the State High Court, he instituted the matter against the state government and four others at the Federal High Court in Abakaliki, challenging the legality of the law.
In the suit FCAI/CS/6/2022, Mr Etu through his lawyers prayed the court to declare that the Ebonyi State House of Assembly has no powers to make such laws.