The Lagos state government on Wednesday withdrew charges of social distancing against music crooner, Afeez Fashola aka Naira Marley and codefendants, Babatunde Gbadamosi and wife, Folashde.
The defendants were scheduled to face a four-count charge bordering on violation of social distancing regulations beforehand Chief Magistrate Yewande Aje-Afunwa.
Proceedings started at 11.20am.
Naira Marley, the first defendant was dressed in a white shirt and black Jeans and was the first to be called into the dock.
Gbadamosi, second defendant, was dressed in a brown native buba and sokoto followed by his wife and third defendant, Folasade, who was dressed in a blue top on black Jeans pants.
The DPP, Yaquib Oshoala, led the Prosecution alongside Dr Babajide Martins a Deputy Director in the office of the DPP, Adetutu Osinusi, a Deputy Director in the office of the DPP, Jonathan Ogunsanya & Afolabi Solebo who are both Assistant Directors in the office of the DPP.
Naira Marley, first defensant, was represented by Damilola Ayinde-Marshall alongside Afeez Olabisi.
When the matter came up arraignment, Oshoala informed the court that Lagos state government was no longer going to arraign the defendants.
Oshoala said he has the instruction of the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice withdraw the charges.
He said: “the Attorney General and Commissionet for Justice, Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN) has directed that having considered the remorsefulness of the three defendants, he has considered diverting the case to out-of-court settlement”.
Oshoala said this was dependent on the defendants fulfilling three conditions.
He said: “They have to write a formal apology to the Government of Lagos State which will solidify the remorsefulness shown by them; they have to give an undertaking in writing that they will continue to comply with the directives of Mr President and Mr Governor which is the subject matter of the case before the court; and that in view of the danger which the state believes they have put themselves by attending a gathering exceeding 20 persons, they must agree to go on 14 days isolation to protect other members of the public from any likely danger”.
Oshoala argued that this was absolutely necessary “in view of the fact that some individuals who travelled from endangered countries were present at the party”.
He stressed that the state was not a persecutor but always ready to enforce the laws that benefit the interest of the public.
“If they agree to this conditions, the four count charge will be withdrawn and that will be the end of the matter. We will keep it in abeyance.That’s our submission,” he told the court.
Akoni, on behalf of the second defendant, expressed appreciation to the state, the DPP and confirmed to the court that they will accept the three conditions.
Adegboruwa, also on behalf of the third defendant expressed appreciation to the President, the Governor, the AG, the DPP and his team, the Police and most of all the court.
Adegboruwa said “the third defendant is a law abiding citizen and accepts all the three conditions as stipulated by the DPP”.
Ayinde-Marshall, on behalf of the first defendant, Naira Marley, said: “we say a big thank you to the police, the President, Mr Governor and the DPP.
“My client is a law abiding citizen too and a strict supporter of government policies. We undertake that we will fulfill the three conditions given to them.”
Responding, Oshoala said since the three defendants have agreed to the conditions, they are withdrawing the charges.
“Having already dealt with the principal defendants, Funke Akindele and her husband, we hereby withdraw the charge before the court.
“However for the purpose of clarity, I request the defendant to put their phones numbers out so that the personnel from the Ministry of Health can get in touch with them, having agreed to go into self isolation’ he said.
He asked the defendants to between today(Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday) morning, to ensure that their respective undertakings reach the Attorney General through their lawyers and the OC Legal of Police to show their sincerity.
Chief Magistrate Aje-Afunwa, after taking the submission of parties said since the defendants have agreed to comply with the conditions, the court will accept the request of the prosecution but on the conditions of the court.
“I wish to state that the procedure for the withdrawal of a criminal charge is that before the charge is withdrawn, the conditions must be met or be seen to be met.
“In the circumstances of this case, the court will adjourn to enable the defence put its house in order and the prosecution will address the court on how the defendants have complied”, she said.
She admonished the defendants to always ensure that they comply with the regulations of the government.
“We all must continue to ensure that the regulations are strictly complied with in our homes and in all public places” she said.
She adjourned the matter till today for withdrawal of charges or for taking of plea if defendants fail to comply with conditions.