I’m a man’, Bobrisky says as he bags 6-month jail without option of fine

THE Federal High Court, Lagos State, has sentenced controversial crossdresser Idris Olanrewaju Okuneye, popularly known as Bobrisky, to six months imprisonment without an option of a fine for abusing the Nigerian naira.

The judgment was handed down to him on Friday, April 12.

In her ruling, the judge, Abimbola Awogboro, said the judgment would serve as a deterrent to others fond of abusing the naira.


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There was a mild drama in the court before the judge gave her ruling. She asked the accused if he was a man or a woman. He promptly told the court, “I’m a man, my lord.”

Bobrisky is well-known for dressing like a woman and flaunting all the bodily features of a woman.

He recently won an award for the best-dressed woman at a popular event in Lagos State.

Priding himself as “Mummy of Lagos”, he had boasted to conceive and bear a child.

The court in Lagos on April 5 convicted him after he pleaded guilty to the charges against him but reserved its judgment till April 9. Awogboro convicted the accused after reviewing the facts of the case.

The judge, Awogboro, in his ruling on Friday, April 5, ordered that Bobrisky be placed in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) pending the judgment.

The sentence could not be read on the scheduled date because of the Eid-el-Fitri holidays.

In his response, Bobrisky told the court that he was unaware of the law regarding abusing naira.

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He informed the court that he is a social media influencer with over five million followers.

He pleaded that the court permit him to educate his followers on the abuse of the naira by being lenient in its judgment.

The judge, Awogboro, then told him that ignorance of the law was not an excuse.

The ICIR reported that the EFCC arrested and detained Bobrisky in Lagos State for naira abuse and currency mutilation.

Media reports said EFCC spokesperson Dele Oyewale confirmed that Bobrisky had been arrested, not for his lifestyle as a crossdresser but for abusing the naira.

While there was an outcry by Nigerians for his arrest, a report by The ICIR showed that there is no law in Nigeria yet that criminalises cross-dressing.

The Nigeria Police Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Olumuyiwa Adejobi, also confirmed in a report by The ICIR that the country had no law allowing the police to arrest and charge crossdressers in court.

EFCC still mum over Tinubu’s minister, Musawa

While Bobrisky will be spending six months in prison, The ICIR reports that the EFCC is yet to take any action on a video showing the Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, abusing the naira, the same offence Bobrisky was convicted for.

Musawa is a minister under Bola Tinubu’s administration.




     

     

    According to BBC pidgin, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in August 2023 said they were ready to ‘confront’ Musawa for allegedly defacing the naira after a two-minute video where she was seen spraying money on a musician went viral.

    Section 21 (3) of the CBN Act 2007 (as amended) said, “For the avoidance of doubt, spraying of, dancing or matching on the naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute an abuse and defacing of the naira or such note and shall be punishable under sub-section (1) of this section.”

    “Similarly, Section 21(4) states that ‘It shall also be an offence punishable under sub-section (1) of this section for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank.

    It remains unclear if the EFCC or the CBN will make any case against the minister.

    A reporter with the ICIR
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