An Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos on Thursday discharged the case filed against hip hop artist, Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley; a politician, Babatunde Gbadamosi; and his wife, Folashade.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the trio were charged to court for attending the 43rd birthday party hosted by Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele Bello, for her husband, Abdulrasheed Bello, aka JJC Skillz.
They were initially to be charged on April 8 on four counts of flouting the Lagos State social distancing directive.
However, following directives from Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, all the charges were withdrawn on the condition that they tender a formal apology to the Lagos State Government and the Presidency.
The Chief Magistrate, Yewande Aje-Afunwa, in a ruling, struck out the charges against the defendants.
Aje-Afunwa held: “Upon the oral application of DPP on behalf of A-G, which allocation is brought under Sections 71 and 73 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, which is pursuant to the fact that the three defendants have complied with conditions of the unchallenged application of DPP for the withdrawal of this charge MIK/A/44/2020, leave is hereby granted by this court to the A-G to withdraw this charge against the three defendants.
“Accordingly, the three defendants are hereby discharged.”
Aje-Afunwa commended the competence of the prosecution and defence teams in the handling of the case.
“I commend the three defendants for taking responsibility for their errors. There is a manual by the State for restorative justice,” the Chief Magistrate said.
Earlier, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Yhaqub Oshoala, told the court that the defendants had complied with all the stipulated conditions for the withdrawal of the charge.
“They have all written individual letters of apology and undertaking to support the government in all areas to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic and to go into self isolation for 14-days,” Oshoala said.
Defence counsel to the Gbadamosi, Wale Akoni (SAN), and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), both confirmed the position of the DPP to the court.
They said Babatunde and Folashade had both tendered letters of apology and undertaking to the police at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti for onward transmission to the Attorney-General of Lagos State.
Naira Marley’s counsel, Ayinde Marshall, confirmed that the singer has also submitted his letter of apology and undertaking to the police.
Responding to the submissions of the defence counsels, Oshoala applied that the charges against the defendants be struck out by the Chief Magistrate.
He said: “I hereby apply that the charge be struck out against the defendants as they have undertaken to work with the government to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We thank the court for the manner in which it handled the case.”