A LAWYER that accompanied Afrobeat singer Seun Kuti to the Lagos State Police Command headquarters, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, has decried how the musician was treated after his arrest by the Nigeria Police Force for assaulting on one of its operatives.
Kuti, a son of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, was handcuffed and photographed after he presented himself to the police on Monday, May 15.
He was declared wanted by the police after a video showed him slapping a policeman on the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, on Saturday, May 13.
Olumide-Fusika, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who accompanied Kuti to the Lagos police headquarters, said the handcuffing and media parade of the suspect was illegal.
The senior lawyer stressed that Kuti retained innocent until proven guilty by a law court.
“Mr. Seun Kuti reported himself in the office of the Commissioner of Police at the Police Command, Ikeja, at 8 a.m. today, Monday, May 15, 2023.
“I accompanied him to the Ikeja police station together with another lawyer, Mr Femi Akinyemi, from Falana and Falana chambers.
“However, there was no interrogation as it was decided he would be moved to the Force Criminal Investigation Unit at Panti, Yaba. Before his movement, Mr. Seun Kuti, was handcuffed and his photograph taken in the open by the Lagos PPRO, Mr. Benjamin Hundeyin who coordinated the parade and apparently shared the photograph of his parade in the media,” the lawyer said.
He said the decision of the police to subject Kuti to the media parade violates Section 9 of the Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, which prohibited any form of a parade of criminal suspects in the state.
According to him, the Police is supposed to enforce the law, but they prefer to disrespect and break it.
“A Police institution that has no respect for the law it exists to enforce is not a good example to alleged lawbreakers.
“The decision of the police to handcuff Mr Kuti is equally illegal as it constitutes a violation of Section 5 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, ” Olumide-Fusika submitted.
He claimed that after handcuffing Kuti, the police drove him in a convoy of heavily armed personnel from Ikeja to Panti, where he is currently held.
Olumide-Fusika noted that Kuti’s lawyers are waiting for the next move by the police.
Meanwhile, the PUNCH reported that the Lagos Police Command Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, during a phone interview on Monday, said Kuti apologised to the assaulted policeman and gave him the sum of ₦12,000 for to repair his vehicle.
The Punch also added that a source said Kuti was the one that bashed the officer’s vehicle.
The policeman then approached him to call his attention to the incident.
However, as seen in the trending video, the musician alighted from his car and slapped the policeman and the fficer subsequently reported the incident at the Police Command in Ikeja.
Kuti is currently being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), popularly known as Panti, in Yaba, Lagos State, following a visit to the FCID over the alleged assault.
The musician was accompanied by a lawyer representing Falana and Falana Chambers, the law firm of human rights activist Femi Falana (SAN).
In the video, which went viral, he was seen pushing and slapping the policeman.
“You dey craze! You dey mad!” he was heard saying as he slapped the policeman.
The musician later claimed that the policeman attempted to kill him and his family, hence the reason for his action.
“He tried to kill me and my family. I have proof, but I no dey chase clout. He has apologised, and I have agreed not to press charges. Make una mind una business make the poor guy no lose im job,” Kuti said via a post on his Instagram story.
A statement released by the Public relations officer, Force Headquarters, Abuja, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, late Saturday said the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command to arrest Kuti.
The IG equally ordered a speedy and full investigation into the remote and immediate cause(s) of the assault and prosecution of the suspect accordingly.
However, following the IG’s order for his arrest, Kuti was said to have reported himself to the police at the Lagos Command.
In response to the development, Falana, SAN, claimed that the musician had requested his legal counsel and that Kuti has supporting documentation for his claim.
According to section 356 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act, if found guilty of assaulting the unnamed police officer, Kuti could face a three-year prison sentence.