A Benue social media activist, Gyenger Paul, found himself in custody at the Federal Correction Center in Makurdi on Thursday, facing allegations of defamation against State Governor Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia. The charges stem from a defamatory post Gyenger allegedly published on his Facebook page.
During the court proceedings, the trial Magistrate, TK Attah, rejected an oral bail application, citing jurisdictional constraints, and subsequently ordered Gyenger to be remanded in prison custody.
Gyenger faces a range of charges, including cyberstalking, criminal defamation, and injurious falsehood, all of which disparaged the Governor.
The detention of Gyenger, known for his activism, has sparked widespread outrage within the state, with numerous voices calling for his unconditional release from custody. Despite the denial of bail through his lawyer Clement Mue’s oral application, efforts are underway to explore various legal avenues to secure his release.
The arrest of Gyenger occurred on August 25, 2023, at his residence in Gyado Villa, Makurdi, following a Facebook post dated August 18, 2023. In this post, he alleged that the Governor of Benue State had diverted N2 billion from the N5 billion palliatives sent to the state by the federal government, further claiming that a portion of these funds was used to complete the Governor’s mansion in Guzape, Abuja.
Additionally, it is worth noting that Mr Gyenger has filed a N200 million lawsuit against Gov. Hyacinth Alia, police officers, and the Attorney General of Benue State, alleging wrongful arrest due to a story posted on his Facebook page.
His legal team is currently preparing to approach a Federal High Court, which possesses jurisdiction over the case, to pursue his bail application.