A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has said he will provide legal services to Afrobeat musician, Seun Kuti, who sought his intervention following the singer’s alleged assault on a police officer.
The SAN, who confirmed the development to our correspondent on Sunday, said the singer had enough evidence to defend himself.This was as the Police Service Commission demanded the immediate prosecution of the musician, saying no one had the right to assault a policeman in uniform and on official duty, no matter the offence committed by police officer.
Reacting to an inquiry by our correspondent on Sunday, Falana said, “I am his (Seun Kuti’s) lawyer and he has briefed me. He certainly has evidence. This is not the first time he is dealing with the police.”
There were also speculations on Sunday that a team of police officers drafted to effect Kuti’s arrest could not locate him upon getting to his residence.
However, efforts to confirm the development from the police authorities proved abortive, as the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, and the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, did not respond to inquiries by our correspondent.
Falana while reacting to this disclosed that the embattled singer would turn himself in on Monday.
He added, “He (Seun) is going to report himself to the police tomorrow (Monday) morning. There is no problem at all.”
The PUNCH reported that a viral video of the musician assaulting a police officer on the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos State went viral on Saturday.
In the 12-second video, Kuti, who wore a red shirt and white pair of trousers, was seen pushing a policeman, who stood beside a Toyota Hilux police van. He then proceeded to slap the cop, as he shouted, “You dey craze, you dey mad?”
A motorist, who filmed the incident from his car, was heard saying, “Omo na Kuti o. Na better news be this o.”
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, reacting, ordered the arrest of the singer.
The IG equally ordered a speedy and full investigation into the remote and immediate cause(s) of the alleged assault and prosecution of the suspect accordingly.
This was as the musician, in a social media post on Saturday, alleged that the policeman in question made an attempt on his life and those of his family members.
The Police Service Commission, on Sunday, demanded immediate prosecution of Afrobeat musician.
The PSC Chairman, Dr Solomon Arase, a retired Inspector-General of Police, said Seun’s arraignment would serve as a deterrent to other citizens, adding that no one has the right to assault a policeman in uniform and on official duty, no matter the offence committed by police officer.
The Head, Press and Public Relations, PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, in a statement on Sunday, said, “The commission demands that the culprit must be arraigned immediately and that the Inspector General must ensure that the matter is followed to its logical conclusion to restore public confidence in the Nigeria Police as the lead agency in internal security and in its ability to maintain law and order and also protect lives and properties.
“We look forward to the prompt prosecution of Seun to act as a deterrent to others of his ilk.”
Arase commended the police officer for refusing to be provoked by the action of his aggressor, a development he said would have been more fatal.
“The PSC chairman said it was unfortunate that at a time the management of the Nigeria Police were dealing decisively with officers who harass, intimidate or assault civilians on our roads and work places, the same police officers have become victims of the actions of some uncultured elites.
“He said the police should use the present incident to set an example that this will never be tolerated in Nigeria, a country governed by laws, rules and regulations.”
A Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Mr Malcolm Omorhrihobo, told The PUNCH that the musician risked being charged under Section 98 of the
Police Act and Section 356 of the Criminal Code, which is operational in the South-West, noting that “If the police are able to prove their case in court, he is liable to be sentenced to three years’ jail term if convicted of the offence.”
Section 356 of the Criminal Code Act reads,“ Anyone who assaults, resists, or willfully obstructs a police officer while acting in the execution of his duty, or any person acting in aid of a police officer while so acting is guilty of felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years.”