APC suspicious as Adeleke raises cybercrime panel

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The Osun State Government, on Sunday,  announced its decision to set up a Cybercrime Action Committee to get the spread of fake news in the state.

The Commissioner for Information and Public Engagement, Kolapo Alimi, in a statement on Sunday, said “The step becomes necessary to sanitise the governance space and ensure that politicking and governance take place under an atmosphere of responsibility, decency and honesty.”

The development comes in the wake of a social media war between the supporters of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress on issues relating to governance and the personality of individuals in the parties.

The commissioner said the increasing wave of fake news in the state was negatively affecting both the government and the opposition.

He explained that “the committee domiciled in the Ministry of Justice has as members journalists and legal practitioners, informing the public that the mandate is to ensure that fake news is nipped in the bid, no matter who the perpetrators are.”

“The committee is to apply relevant sections of the Cybercrime Act of 2015 as operational clauses to ensure all stakeholders operate within the law in the exercise and enjoyment of their fundamental human rights.

“Section 24 (1) of the Cybercrime Act, 2015 reads: ‘A person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any such message or matter to be sent, or he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7,000, 000.00 or imprisonment for a term, not more than three years or both.”

Alimi said that the committee would host its maiden action meeting today (Monday).

But reacting to the development,  Osun APC Chairman, Tajudeen Lawal, described it as a ploy to muzzle the opposition and subsequently turn the governor into a dictator.

Lawal also said the committee was an afterthought aimed at planting fears in the minds of patriotic citizens who queried Adeleke’s alleged award of N50bn public road contracts to unqualified companies.

He declared that Osun APC would be battle-ready to confront and resist, through legal means, all draconian policies fashioned to repress the voice of the opposition in the state.

He said, “It defies logic that a governor who has been shielding from arrest his chief propagandist, who is being wanted by the DSS for allegedly planting fake news about the son of the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Femi Oyetola, is the one touting to curb cyber bullying.

“The issue is that Governor Adeleke is under pressure to defend his corruption-friendly government, which has become a butt of jokes among discerning minds in the state. If not, why is this repressive move coming up at this time when our party took him headlong on the shady deals that bedevilled the award of his purported multi-billion road/flyover contracts?

“We want to assure Governor Adeleke that no matter his antics, we, as a party, would not surrender our inalienable rights to act to type as a credible opposition to his reactionary, clueless and corrupt government, in the overall interest of the people of the state.”

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