•He wasn’t paraded — Police
•Seun’s lawyer faults media trial
A Sabo-Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court, in Lagos, yesterday, granted an application for an extension of remand of embattled afrobeat singer, Seun Kuti, for additional four days.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Adeola Olatubosun, extended Kuti’s remand until May 22.
Mr. Simon Lough, who led a police legal team to the court, had moved the application.
According to him, the extension is to allow for further investigation into the case.
Mr. Kuti was charged with assaulting a police officer, when he allegedly slapped an Inspector of Police, after driving dangerously on the Third Mainland Bridge, in Lagos State, and deliberately blocking a moving police vehicle, on May 13, 2023.
He was earlier arraigned, on Tuesday, May 16, during which the chief magistrate ordered his remand for 48 hours.
She, however, held that the defendant should be admitted to bail in the sum of N1 million, with two sureties in like sum, at the end of the 48-hour remand, stating that one of the sureties must be a landlord within the jurisdiction of the court.
She adjourned the case to May 22, 2023, for mention and directed the prosecutor to duplicate the case file and forward a copy to the state director of public prosecutions for advice.
We didn’t parade Seun —Police
Meanwhile the Police faulted insinuation by Seun’s defense counsel that he (Seun) was paraded, urging him to desist from engaging in media trial and allow the judicial process take its full course.
In a statement by Head of Chambers for the Nigeria Police, DCP Simon Lough, SAN, said: “Seun Kuti was not paraded as erroneously alleged by his lawyers. It was his photograph, fingerprints, name and address that were taken as provided for in the law.
“It has become imperative to correct some misrepresentations being circulated on social media solely to garner sympathy from the public and to divert attention from the fact in issue.
“First of all, there is no law that prohibits the use of handcuffs to restrain a suspect, especially a suspect that has shown tendency of violence like Seun Kuti that has already shown acts of violence by attacking and slapping a police officer in uniform and even threatening his wife in the process.
“Secondly, section 10(4) of Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State allows the taking of photographs of suspects arrested for identification and record purpose.
“The Nigeria Police equally appeals to the defence team of Seun Kuti to desist from engaging in media trial/defence of their client and allow the judicial process take its full course.
Seun’s lawyer faults Police media trial
But reacting to claims by Mr Lough, the defence team of Kuti, Mr Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, SAN, urged the Magistrate Court to send the case file to the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution “for legal evaluation and possible charge and prosecution before a court of law.”
Olumide-Fusika, in a statement, faulted the continued remand of the embattled singer.
He said: “My attention has been drawn to a tweeted public statement ascribed to you, which, inter alia, appeals to the defence team of Mr Seun Kuti to desist from engaging in media trial/defence of their client and allow the judicial process take its course.
“You are of course aware of the names and identities of those to whom your advice was directed. That being the case, you should have honoured your own advice against “media trial/defence” by reaching out to them otherwise than through a tweet to the whole world.
Your predilection is, however, understandable and forgiven considering that you are first and foremost a Deputy Commissioner of Police and therefore bound to obey the last order of your superiors in the Nigeria Police Force.
“Otherwise, as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the unethical implication of your exertion and conduct in court would not have been lost on you. To your knowledge, the bail granted to Mr Kuti at the court session of Tuesday, May 16, 2023, was not on the application of the Police or its legal team. It was on the oral application and at the instance of Mr Kuti’s legal team, having chanced upon the ex-parte attempt of the Police to keep Mr Kuti under Police detention for twenty-one more days as from said May 16 2023.
“It should, therefore, have occurred to you that any application to vary the bail terms, including the term that his release on bail shall be effective after 48 hours from that date (which was what you went to court today to make and obtain) cannot be ex parte but on notice to Mr Kuti’s Defence team. In your elevated position as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, you ought not to be caught in any scheme having the potential of making a mockery of the rule of law and exposing the Court administration of Justice to ridicule. Mr Kuti will say no more on this for now.
“Well, now that Mr Kuti has been put in manacles and taken on parade from one police station to another and from one location to the other across Lagos State since Monday, May 15, 2023, when exactly is he going to be charged for, as you put it in your statement, “attacking and slapping a police officer in uniform?”
“Mr. Seun Kuti is patiently waiting to be charged to court for the alleged offence so that he can offer his defence. That should not be too much for a suspect to expect. I do hope that you will use your position as a lawyer, and indeed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, counselling the Police in this matter, to obey the order of the Magistrate Court to send the case file to the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution for legal evaluation and possible charge and prosecution before a court of law.”