For allegedly defaming Emeka Offor on WhatsApp, activist spends 165 days in prison, begins defence June 20


By Tony Okafor, Awka

A High Court presided over by Justice Vincent Agbata has adjourned the trial of Boniface Okonkwo, a Nigerian activist based in South Africa, till June 20 for defense.

Okonkwo has been in detention for over 165 days since his arrest on January 3.

The activist’s arrest and detention followed a complaint by a businessman, Sir Emeka Offor, who alleged that Okonkwo defamed him on a WhatsApp platform for their Oraifite town.

Okonkwo was accused of describing Offor’s meter manufacturing factory in Anambra as a “decorated warehouse”.

At the resumed hearing on June 13, a forensic expert for the prosecution was cross examined by Okonkwo’s counsel,
KC Nwufo(SAN) while Alex Ejesieme( SAN) led the prosecution counsel

Despite Okonkwo’s plea to the Chief Judge of Anambra State to reassign the defamation case to a new judge, his request was denied.

Okonkwo’s legal team is expected to present its defense on June 20, in a bid to clear the activist’s name and secure his release from detention.

The case had sparked interest among human rights groups and political observers, who are watching the proceedings closely.

The prosecution’s case relies heavily on the forensic evidence presented by the expert witness.

The case has also raised questions about the limits of free speech in Nigeria and the use of defamation laws to silence right activists and critics.

Okonkwo’s supporters have been vocal in their demands for his release, citing his contributions to human rights activism in South Africa and Nigeria.

As the trial enters its next phase, all eyes will be on the Anambra State High Court to deliver a verdict that will have far-reaching implications for free speech and political activism in Nigeria.

The June 20 hearing is expected to be a crucial turning point in the case, as Okonkwo’s legal team presents its defense and challenges the prosecution’s evidence.

The verdict will be closely watched by human rights groups, political observers, and the general public, who are eager to see how the case will unfold.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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