The Lagos State Government has withdrawn charges against a musician, Azeez Fashola, alias Naira Marley, and a politician, Babatunde Gbadamosi.
Naira Marley, Gbadamosi and his wife were charged before the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Ogba for attending a crowded birthday party in violation of the government’s social distancing directive to check the spread of coronavirus.
They were scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday but the government, according to one of the defence counsel, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), withdrew the four counts filed against the three defendants.
At the end of the proceedings, Adegboruwa briefed journalists on what transpired in the courtroom.
He said the state withdrew the charges on the condition that the defendants would tender an apology to the President Muhammadu Buhari and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
All the defendants were present in court and the prosecution was led by A.G. Oshoala, the director of public prosecution, Lagos State. Olawale Akoni and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa led the defence team.
Mr Oshoala informed the court that he received a directive from the Attorney-General of Lagos State, that in view of the remorseful disposition of the defendants, the state was willing to step down on the charges on three conditions.
First, the defendants will write a formal apology to the governor of Lagos State.
Second, the defendants will sign an undertaking to comply with all regulations relating to COVID-19 pandemic.
Third, the defendants will go on self-isolation for 14 days in order to protect others that they may come in contact with.
All the defendants accepted these conditions and thereafter the DPP applied to withdraw the charges and requested that the conditions be complied with, and updates given through the police officer in charge of legal department, SCID, Panti, Yaba.
Delivering a bench ruling, the magistrate said it was better to allow the defendants enough time to comply with the conditions.
She gave the defendants 24 hours to comply with the conditions.
The case was consequently adjourned to Thursday, for withdrawal or plea, as the case may be.
Messrs Akoni and Adegboruwa, on behalf of the defence, expressed their gratitude to the court, the governor of Lagos State, the AG of Lagos State and the police, for the peaceful and friendly proceedings.
Some news platforms earlier reported how the police ordered the popular musician to submit himself for questioning after he attended a birthday party despite the lockdown in Lagos.
Naira Marley was among the celebrities that attended the birthday of Abdulrasheed Bello, the husband of actress Funke Akindele. Mr Gbadamosi has also admitted being at the party and apologised for it.
Both the actress and her husband on Monday pleaded guilty to hosting the party despite the coronavirus lockdown.
They were sentenced to 14 days of community service and fined N100,000 each by a magistrate court in Ogba, Lagos.