Lagos State Government has declared its intention to withdraw criminal charges against a politician, Babatunde Gbadamosi, his wife, Folasade, and a musician, Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley for attending last weekend’s birthday party hosted by Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele Bello and her husband.
The state government made its intention known before the State Magistrates’ Court, Ogba, where the trio was charged.
The State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Yakub Oshoala disclosed this at the proposed arraignment of the defendants.
The defendants were charged on four counts bordering on attending a crowded birthday party in violation of the government’s social distancing directive to check the spread of coronavirus.
However, the DPP on behalf of the Attorney General, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) had proposed that the trio should tender a written apology to the state government, maintain 14-day isolation, and undertake to continue to obey the regulations set out by the Federal and state governments.
At the proceedings, Oshoala led the prosecution while, Olawale Akoni SAN, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa represented the politician and his wife; Naira Marley was represented by Damilola Ayinde-Marshall respectively.
After the announcement of appearance, the DPP told the court that even though the state had filed a four-count charge before the court, “a few minutes before the court proceedings started, the Attorney General forwarded a directive to me that having considered the remorsefulness of the three defendants, the AG has considered diverting the case out of court based on the defendants fulfilling three conditions.
“They have to write a formal apology to the Government of Lagos State which will solidify the remorsefulness shown by them.
“They have to give an undertaking in writing that they will continue to comply with the directives of Mr President and Mr Governor which is the subject matter of the case before the court.
“In view of the danger which the state believes they’ve put themselves by attending a gathering exceeding 20 persons, they must agree to go on 14 days isolation to protect other members of the public from any likely danger.”
Oshoala submitted that fulfilling the conditions were absolutely necessary in view of the fact that some individuals who travelled from endangered countries were present at the party.
He stressed that the state is not a persecutor but it is always ready to enforce the laws that benefit the interest of the public.
“If they agree to these conditions, the four-count charge will be withdrawn and that will be the end of the matter. We will keep it in abeyance; that is our position.”
All the lawyers to the defendants acquiesced to the terms.
Responding to the defendants’ position, DPP said: “having agreed to these conditions and having already dealt with the principal defendants, Funke Akindele and her husband, we hereby withdraw the charge before the court.