Social distancing: Lagos withdraws charges against Naira Marley

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The charges against  musician Afeez Fashola (a.k.a Naira Marley) and Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) politician Babatunde Gbadamosi, his wife, Folashade, were on Wednesday withdrawn by Lagos State.

Fashola and the Gbadamosis were charged with flouting the Cessation of Movement and Stay at Home Order made by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Social Distancing Order given by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos.

They were docked before an Ikeja Chief Magistrates Court.

However, the charges were not read to them as the state Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Yhaqub Oshoala, said that the state intended to ‘step down’ the charges due to advice from the state Attorney-General, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN).

Oshoala said that the state was not a “persecutor but a prosecutor”.

He, however,  gave three conditions to the defendants for withdrawal of the  charges.

The first condition is that there will be a personal apology to the president and governor; the second is that they will give an undertaking to comply with the COVID-19 Regulations.

“Finally, they will go into self-isolation for 14 days and report back to the court,” he said.

Wale Akoni (SAN) represented Babatunde, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) represented Folashade, while Ms Damilola Ayinde-Marshall represented Fashola.

Following the submission of the DPP, the defendants through their counsel accepted the conditions.

Thus, the DPP applied to withdraw the charges.

Akoni expressed appreciation to the state and confirmed to the court that his client accepted the conditions.

Thanking the court also,  Adegboruwa said, “On behalf of the third defendant (Folashade), I express appreciation to His Excellency, Mr President, and the governor, the attorney-general, the DPP and his team, the police and, most of all, the court.

The third defendant is a law-abiding citizen and accepts all that three conditions as stipulated by the DPP.”

Ayinde-Marshall, Fashola’s counsel, thanked the president, the governor of Lagos, the police  and the DPP.

My client is a law-abiding citizen and a strict supporter of government policies. We undertake that we will fulfill the conditions,” he said.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Yewande Aje-Afunwa, ordered that  the defendants should communicate their acceptance of the conditions through the Legal Section of the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba, Lagos.

Aje-Afunwa adjourned the case April 9 for mention.