Court Dismisses Police Request To Arraign Seun Kuti Without DPP Advice

Magistrate Adeola Olatunbosun of the Chief Magistrate’s court in the Sabo-Yaba area of Lagos State has dismissed an application by the Nigeria Police seeking to arraign Afrobeats singer, Seun Kuti, over an alleged assault of a police officer without legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution.

She adjourned the hearing to July 3 to await legal advice from the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions on the matter.

The musician came to court this morning after he was released on bail on Tuesday. He had been in detention at the State Criminal Investigative Department, Panti since May 15.

At the resumed hearing, police Counsel, Cyril Ejiofor had sought the leave of court to prosecute the singer, having preferred a charge against him.

But Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana representing the defendant urged the court to dismiss the application, accusing the Police of disobeying subsisting orders of the court.

“We have a serious objection to the proposed arraignment on two solid legal grounds; he is entitled to at least 48 hours’ notice within which to answer to the charge, under section 82 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos.

We came here this morning only for the police to say a charge has been filed and most importantly, this charge is contemptuous of the valid and subsisting court order of May 16, that upon the completion of an investigation, the prosecution of the case is to be transferred to the state government, as police can’t investigate and prosecute the case”

Falana argued that until the court orders are complied with by the IGP, this court can’t entertain the charge from the police.

They owe it a duty to disclose to the court why they have overruled this court on the prosecution of this case. There is no appeal against the court’s order. We urge the court to disregard the application of the police, as it is an attempt to treat the court with provocative contempt.”

Last week, the same court delivered two rulings ordering the police to duplicate the case file and forward it to the Office of the DPP at the Lagos Ministry of Justice for advice on whether to prosecute the case.

The court also said the police cannot investigate and prosecute the matter, to avoid the perception of bias.

In his response to the senior lawyer’s arguments, the police counsel urged the court to dismiss the objection saying that section 23 of the Police Act, 2020, empowers them to prosecute cases and that the Nigeria police cannot wait for the state government, having already sent the case file to them.

“We also rely on last week’s rulings of this Court. We have compiled and duplicated this file to the office of the DPP. It is left for them to do their job, we cannot wait for them. We are empowered by law to prosecute to the Supreme Court.

“Under Section 23 of the Police Act, we have ultimate powers to prosecute which aren’t in conflict with sections 174 and 211 of the Nigerian Constitution, which gives the AG powers to take over any case, but we cannot wait for the state.

“Nothing shall apply as a stay of proceedings, not even a pending DPP’s advice. It is unlawful for Silk to address the court when a plea hasn’t been taken. We urge the court to order the defendant to take his plea.”

In her ruling, the magistrate, having issued the previous orders, insisted on awaiting the DPP’s advice, before proceeding with the case.

The courtroom was packed full, and many observers applauded the court’s decision, but the court frowned at the applause and threatened to send those at the gallery out.

Seun Kuti who was in the dock throughout the proceedings was also spotted jubilating over the development and turning to look at his seated wife, earning another warning from the court.

According to the investigating police officer, Lekan Ogundare, Seun Kuti committed the offence on May 13 on the Third Mainland Bridge.

The defendant was said to have driven dangerously on the bridge and deliberately blocked a moving police vehicle.

He is also alleged to have grabbed one Inspector Mohammed Aminu attached to the Police Training College, Ikeja, who was on official movement and in police uniform.

The police also said the defendant slapped the officer several times on his face.

Wahab Akinlade

Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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