FCT court convicts Naira Marley for violation of COVID-19 protocol

Afrobeat star, NIra Marley

By Salisu Sani-Idris

Abuja – The FCT Mobile Court on Friday in Abuja sentenced a music superstar, Azeez Fashola, aka Naira Marley, for violating Presidential regulation on COVID-19.

Marley pleaded guilty to the four-count charge pressed on him by the prosecuting team.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that on Saturday, June 13, Naira Marley and his members flew from Lagos State to Abuja to perform at a concert organised at Jabi Lake Mall in Abuja.

Reading the four-count charge, Magistrate Idayat Akanni, ordered Naira Marley to pay N50,000 for each of the count and publish a public apology to the Federal Government of Nigeria in a national daily.

The four-count charge include violating Presidential ban on interstate travelling and non-wearing of face mask contrary to the Presidential Order imposing compulsory wearing of face mask by all persons within Abuja the Federal Capital Territory.

Other charges are violating social distance order as well as violating dusk to dawn curfew in the territory.

Reacting to the judgment, the defendant’s lawyer, Mohammad Yunusa, said: ” moving forward, we will be very detailed and also confirm informations given to our clients by people who book him.”

“Like in this instance, we were given the assurance that all the approvals from the government have been procured for him to be in Abuja and at the concert.

“It was on the strength of the representation that he came to Abuja to perform.”

Mohammed said that having gone through the trial, Naira Marley would henceforth be more vocal in the advocacy for the adherence to the COVID-19 safety guidelines by all.

The Prosecutor, Chief State Council to the Government, Udeme Umanah, said that the offences had  a minimum fine of N2,000, but the court had on its own jurisdiction imposed a N50,000 fine per count since Marley has admitted liability.

The Chairman, FCT Ministerial Taskteam on COVID-19, Attah Ikharo, said:  “I think for those of us in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and those of us in the COVID-19 team, this has been a very long struggling matter.

” The artiste himself today pleaded guilty that he broke the law and the judge in her mercy was kind to give him N50,000 per each of the four-count charge.

“We are telling people that they should learn to obey the law and do what is right.

“Regardless of what you think you are, you are subject to law and even if you run far and think time has overtaken the process of justice, that is not true.

” You can see that after about two months now, he has been brought to face the law. We thank the security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Police for actually picking him up and flying him into Abuja for this prosecution.” (NAN)


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