A MAGISTRATE’S Court sitting in the Yaba area of Lagos has rejected moves by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to arraign Seun Kuti for assaulting a police officer.
According to Channels News, the Afrobeat musician was in court on Wednesday, May 24, for the hearing of the case.
Kuti was released on bail on Tuesday, May 23, following his detention at the State Criminal Investigative Department, Panti, since May 15.
Police lawyer Cyril Ejiofor requested permission from the court to arraign the musician when the case resumed for hearing on Wednesday after filing a charge against him.
Kuti’s lawyer, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), asked the court to deny the application and accused the police of ignoring the court’s current orders.
“We have a serious objection to the proposed arraignment on two solid legal grounds; that he is entitled to at least 48 hours notice within which to answer to the charge by virtue of Section 82 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos,” he stated.
“We came here this morning only for the police to say a charge has been filed, and most importantly, this charge is contemptuous of the valid and subsisting court order of May 16 that upon the completion of the investigation, the prosecution of the case is to be transferred to the state government, as police can’t investigate and prosecute the case. But the police, in total defiance, ignored the order of the court.”
Falana noted that on May 18, the court adjourned the case to May 23 for the DPP’s advice, arguing that until the court orders are complied with, the court can’t entertain the charge from the police.
“There is no appeal against the court’s order. We urge the court to disregard the application of the police, as it is an attempt to treat the court with provocative contempt,” he added.
In his response, Ejiofor urged the court to reject the objection, arguing that Section 23 of the Police Act 2020 gives the security agency the authority to pursue cases and that the Nigeria Police cannot wait for the state government because they have already received the case file.
“We also rely on last week’s rulings of this court. We have compiled and duplicated this file to the office of the DPP. It is left for them to do their job; we cannot wait for them,” the police lawyer stated.
In her ruling, after issuing the earlier orders, the magistrate, Adeola Olatunbosun, maintained in her judgment that the case should wait to be resolved until she heard from the DPP.
In order to wait for legal counsel from the Office of the DPP on the subject, the magistrate postponed the hearing to July 3.
Reports say the court issued Seun Kuti another warning after he was seen celebrating the development while he was in the dock.
The ICIR reported on Tuesday, May 23, that Seun Kuti was released after spending eight days in police custody.
The African Action Congress (AAC) presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, announced his release in a tweet.
Sowore declared, “Just to announce that @RealSeunKuti has been released from @PoliceNG detention in Lagos. Hasta la victoria siempre!”
Kuti’s release came after his trial was adjourned as the Chief Magistrate’s Court where his case is being heard did not sit on Tuesday.
At Tuesday’s resumed hearing in the case, Adeola Olatubosun, who had been presiding over the matter, was absent, and no explanation was provided for her absence.
Kuti was brought to the court as scheduled. However, upon learning of the magistrate’s absence, a team of policemen swiftly moved him to a nearby police station at Panti.
Trouble started for the son of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti after he was seen in a viral video slapping a policeman in Lagos State.
The Inspector General of Police, IGP Alkali Baba Usman, according to a statement from police spokesman CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, thereafter ordered his arrest.
On May 15, Kuti turned himself in at the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, accompanied by his lawyers and family members.
The 40-year-old musician was subsequently arrested and moved to the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Panti.
On May 16, he was arraigned before Adeola Olatunbosun of a Magistrate’s Court in the Yaba area of Lagos State.
The Afrobeat singer was, however, granted bail. However, according to his lawyer, the judge ordered that he be released 48 hours after meeting his bail conditions.
The judge also ordered that Kuti’s file be duplicated, sent to the director of public prosecution (DPP), and adjourned to May 23, 2023.
But on May 18, his lawyers said the magistrate extended the remand order for additional four days to enable the police to continue with its investigations.
In a statement on Saturday, May 20, the musician’s lawyers accused the Lagos State Police Command of failing to comply with a court order by withholding his case file.
Kuti’s lawyers also accused the police of intentionally sensationalising the case.