Posting of Nudes, a Contravention of the Provisions of the Constitution and Cybercrimes Act 2015; An Insight into the Case of A.G Federation V Mr. Ayan
Mbang Valentine Bassey (DIL 2) Faculty of Law, University of Calabar.
Dedicated to :
This paper pertains the gruesome act committed by persons against victims, especially the trendings on the social media, concerning the violation of a person’s right to privacy.
The crux of contention here is the “unlawful posting of a person’s nude picture” for which the constitution has caveats vis-a-vis the disrespect of a person’s dignity, and anything which may jeopardize or procure injuries to the social wellbeing of person either physically or mentally.
Whereas the conduct of a right thinking person has been defined by a latin maxim: “honestere vivere“, to live honestly; and “suum cuique tribuere“, to give each his due.
The implications of these maxim practically introduced S. 34 of the 1999 Constitution “the respect to human dignity”, as against any form of inhuman or disregarding treatment.
Notwithstanding, the supreme law (fons est origo) – the constitution, there are other enactments which strike against the these illicit acts.
The following are; Article 8 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right and s. 24(1) of Cybercrime Act, which is titled as cyberstalking, and criminalises the use of the internet to spread pornography content, false or aggressive information and cyber bullying.
The necessity of these various enactment is for the preservation of social peace and respect for human’s dignity as against any form of defamatory projection of any kind, which is capable of tarnishing the reputation of victims.
In the light of the above, the paper shall be focusing on the violation of the Cyber Crime Act, 2015.
This article shall be divided into three part. The first part is the introduction, second part shall be focusing on the contention vis; the violation of the cybercrime Act pursuant to S. 24 s 1 and finally, the conclusion.
The violation of S.24(1) of the Cybercrime Act 2015 and S. 37 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as Amended)
In the light of the above this dissertation is focused on the unlawful posting of a person’s “nude picture” on social media which is capable of tarnishing the image or reputation of the victims.
This gruesome act is terrifying and portrays absolute wickedness and willingness on the person who has been incriminated to have posted such telegraphic videos and pictures.
Before such act or offence can be construed to have been a telegraphic mistake, it must be shown or established that it was done unintentionally.
The mens rea is garmen in showing that the accused has the requisite knowledge that the exposure of such telegraphic videos, clips and picture “will lead to a total jeopardy of the reputation of the victims”. See the case of Olaniyan v University of Lagos(1985) 1 All NLR part 1 page 314 at 333.
“Good name in a man or woman is the immediate jewel of their soul; who steals my purse steals trash, but who flinches with my good name robs me of that which not enriches him and make me poor indeed”.
The law is trite, crystal clear and as expressly stated in S. 37 of the 1999 Constitution which protect the privacy of person, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversation, telegraphic communication, that this right is guarantee and protected.
In the same vein the implication of this showcases the respect accorded to everyone, i.e the dignity of every person need to be respected. This provisions is sacrosanct and volo compor as encapsulated in S. 34 of the 1999 Constitution.
In elaborately examining the right to dignity of human person, under the provisions of S. 34 of the 1999 Constitution, the court held in Uzoukwu V. Ezeonu II, threw some lights on the extent to which violations under this section may ground a cause of action.
Torture was defined to include mental harassment as well as physical assault; “Inhuman-treatment” means treatment which is devoid of feelings for the suffering of others. Degrading treatment was defined to be the element of lowering societal status, character, value or position of a person, while “slavery and servitude” was interpreted to include lowering somebody to a state of drudgery.
However from the interpretation of the court, it is crystal clear that violation of the Cybercrime Act is a gross infringement on the constitutional rights given to every individual as intertwined in S. 34 and 37 of the 1999 constitution.
Further, the provisions of S. 24(1) of the Cybercrimes Act 2015, titled Cyberstalking, crimializes the use of internet to spread pornography content, false or aggressive information and cyber bullying.
According to O.A Oyewole, counsel to the AGF, in Attorney-General of the Federation V. Mr Ayan, Mr Ayan had threatened to post nude pictures of his ex- girlfriend, Monica Arare, on social media sometime in 2017 when the lady informed him she was no longer interested in their relationship.
According to the counsel, Ms Arare, a single lady, had pleaded with Mr Ayan, who is married with children, not to carry out his threat and he had requested for ₦200,000 as a condition to rescind his decisions.
Mr Ayan however went ahead to post the nude photos when the lady could not get the money.
Delivering his judgement, the learned Judge held that Mr Ayan was found guilty of committing the crime after several evidence made available to the court had been found as “incontrovertible proof that he willfully and maliciously committed the crime.”
Hon. Justice Taiwo Taiwo, also ordered the convict to pay a fine of ₦500,000 thus; “I find this act of the convict highly disgraceful, very despicable and barbaric to say the least,” said the judge, who found the convict guilty of violating Section 24 (1) of the Cybercrime Act, 2015, of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
The position of the law has brought equity into the current trend and devastating enigma ravaging the social media, pursuant to the intertwined Sections 34 and 37 of the constitution 1999 and also the Cyber Crime Act Section 24 (1) of 2015, which has been enacted for protection of person’s right to privacy and stands against any defamatory projection by a person against any victim.
In all ramification the rule of law, entitles everybody to equal rights and such right need not be contravened upon, but if contravene upon the Court is the only place for redress and justice.
As expressly stated in a well renowned Latin maxim “ubi jus, ibi remedium“, ‘ when there is right, there is remedy’. Every person has a ‘locus standing’ to challenge the infringement or breach of fundamental right, ‘fiat justitia‘,let justice be done.
About the Author
The writer hails from Cross River state, Yakurr Local Government Area, Nko community. The writer is also a member of the prestigious Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, and also a keen lover of writing and academic activities.