Lagos lawyer, and human rights crusader, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN on Thursday appealed to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to grant state pardon to popular actress and Nollywood icon, Mrs Funke Akindele.
Adegboruwa made the appeal while speaking with journalists at the prwmises of Ogba Magistrate Court after the proceedings that terminated the charges brought against Mr Babatunde Gbadamosi and Azeez Fashola (Naira Marley).
The human rights activist stated that since the State made the case in court yesterday that it was not out to persecute citizens, Akindele should be granted reprieve, moreso that she has demonstrated remorse for her conduct.
He stated that since the federal government is granting amnesty to 2,600 prisoners, the Governor should emulate this good gesture and show fatherly love to the Akindeles. This should also be extended to all those arrested for jogging on the streets, as they could not have all set out deliberately to disobey the COVID 19 Regulation.
Adegboruwa said that since we are facing a novel situation at hand, government should show some magnanimity to its citizens, as is being done all over the world. Nigerians have never been locked down for this long, without food or money and it is not proper to add to their woes with arrest and prosecution.
He commended the steps so far taken by the government and urged all Nigerians to continue to cooperate with the government to end the scourge.
Meanwhile, Chief Magistrate Yewande Aje-Afunwa today formally discharged Mr Babatunde Gbadamosi, his wife, Folasade, and hip hop singer, Azeez Fashola a.k.a Naira Marley from the four count charges preferred against them by the state for flouting the lockdown regulations.
At today’s proceedings, the defendants and their lawyers were all present in court.
Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Yakub Oshoala reported to the court that the defendants have complied with the conditions stipulated for the withdrawal of the charges and termination of the criminal case.
“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”, he said.
Lawyer to the second defendant, Mr Wale Akoni, SAN confirmed this position and further confirmed that the second defendant has submitted his letter of apology and undertaking to the police at SCID, Panti, for onward transmission to the Honourable Attorney-General of Lagos State.
Mr Adegboruwa also confirmed the position as stated by the DPP and that the 3rd defendant has also submitted her letter of apology and undertaking to the police for onward transmission to the Hon AG of Lagos State.
He aligned with the application of the DPP to withdraw the charge and urged the court to strike out the charge and discharge the defendants.
Miss Ayinde-Marshall also confirmed that the first defendant has submitted his letter of apology and undertaking to the police.
“In view of the fact that the defendants have complied with all the conditions stipulated by the government, 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”, she said.
In her ruling, Mrs Aje-Afunwa said: “Upon the oral application of DPP on behalf of AG which allocation is brought under section 71&73 of AJCL and pursuant to the fact that the three defendants have complied with conditions, the unchallenged application of DPP for the withdrawal of this charge MIK/A/44/2020, leave is hereby granted by this Hon court to the AG to withdraw this charge against the three defendants;
Accordingly, the three defendants are hereby discharged;
I wish to commend the competence of the AG and other prosecution and the Learned Senior Advocates and other defence counsel, for the way they have handled this case, which is novel in this State;
I commend the three defendants for taking responsibility for their errors. There is a manual by the State for restorative justice”.