• Artiste, ex-gov candidate, wife set free
Hip-hop artiste, Azeez Fashola, alias Naira Marley, has pledged to make an audio-visual work to campaign against the spread of the coronavirus.
He made the pledge in a letter of apology he wrote to the Lagos State Government for attending a crowded birthday party on April 4, 2020, contrary to the social distancing directive of the government to limit the spread of the COVID-19.
The state government had filed charges against him before the state Magistrates’ Court in Ogba, and he was billed to be arraigned on Wednesday alongside the candidate of the Action Democratic Party in the 2019 gubernatorial election in the state, Babatunde Gbadamosi, and his wife, Folashade, who also attended the party.
But the state applied to drop the charges.
The state Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Yakub Oshoala, said the government had noted the remorse shown by the defendants and was ready to withdraw the charges against them if they would tender a written apology to the government; sign an undertaking to henceforth comply with the social distancing and stay-at-home directives; and go into self-isolation for 14 days.
The defendants had, through their lawyers, Messrs Wale Akoni (SAN), Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) and Mrs Damilola Ayinde-Marshal, accepted the conditions on Wednesday.
The chief magistrate, Mrs Yewande Aje-Afunwa, had adjourned till Thursday for the report of compliance with the given conditions.
At Thursday’s proceedings, the state Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Yakub Oshoala, told the court that the defendants had all tendered written apologies.
The defence counsel confirmed the position, consequent upon which the magistrate struck out the charges.
In his letter of apology, which was sighted by our correspondent, Naira Marley pledged to “join the Lagos State campaign against the spread of COVID-19 vide making a free audio-visual publication towards the campaign against COVID-19.”
“Thank you and I remain committed to the development of Lagos State,” he stated in the letter.
While striking out the four counts against Naira Marley and the Gbadamosis, the magistrate commended them for taking responsibility for their actions.
The government had filed four counts against Naira Marley and the Gbadamosis over their attendance of a birthday party organised on Saturday, April 4, 2020, by popular actress, Funke Akindele-Bello, aka Jenifa, in honour of her musician husband, Abdul Rasheed Bello, alias JJC Skillz.
Funke and her husband, who had earlier been arraigned on Monday, had pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 14-day community service, in addition to a fine of N100,000 each and an order that the state should put them in isolation for 14 days.