A Lagos State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Yaba, Lagos on Tuesday, ordered the remand of Afrobeat musician, Seun Kuti, for 48 hours in police custody.
The police dragged Kuti to court for assaulting one Inspector Mohammed Aminu, in Lagos last Saturday as captured in a viral video.
The youngest son of the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti, had been in police custody since Monday after he turned himself in, following an order for his arrest by the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba.
The police took him before the magistrate on Tuesday to get an order to further keep him in custody pending the conclusion of investigation.
The police told the magistrate, Adeola Olatunbosun, that by allegedly assaulting a policeman on duty, Kuti acted contrary to Section 356 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act.
According to the prosecution led by S. A Adebeshin and Morufu Animashaun, the defendant was reported to have wounded and assaulted a police officer, obstructed his lawful duty and conducted himself in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace on May 13, 2023.
The police alleged that the singer drove dangerously on the highway outward Third Mainland Bridge and deliberately grabbed a policeman in uniform, raining slaps to his face.
The prosecution prayed the court to remand Seun Kuti for 21 days pending legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
They stated that the application was to allow the police complete investigation on the matter.
The prosecution further claimed that the assaulted policeman was in an undisclosed hospital, later discovered to be the Police clinic, Ikeja, receiving medical attention.
However, the lead defence counsel, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), contended that he was unaware of the remand application, adding that there was no basis to request for the remand of his client.
The SAN argued that the offences levelled against his client were bailable.
“The offences and punishment are straightforward and well stated under the law.
“Saying that Kuti refused to write a statement, is not enough to bring an application for detention. He is not a flight risk. He should be admitted to bail on terms that he shows up anytime he is needed by the court,” the SAN argued.
The magistrate, in her ruling, said, “Following the remand application presented before the court, I am advising that the case file be duplicated and sent to the Directorate of public prosecutions within 72 hours.
“The defendant is hereby remanded for 48 hours in police custody to allow the police to conclude their investigation. After 48 hours, his bail will take effect.
“The defendant will be granted bail in the sum of N1m with two responsible sureties, a three years tax payment receipt that is verifiable; one of the sureties must have a landed property within the court jurisdiction.”
She adjourned the case till May 22, 2023, for mention.
Meanwhile, The PUNCH gathered from reliable sources that policemen on Tuesday stormed Seun Kuti’s residence on Akin Osiyemi, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, in search of exhibits, while also seizing his wife’s mobile phone.
According to an eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, the policemen took the musician along during the search, while they combed his apartment in search of exhibits.
The eyewitness said, “The police officers invaded Seun’s home here on my street, Akin Osiyemi, and he was in the vehicle with them while on handcuffs.
“They stormed his apartment in search of exhibits. But they also seized his wife’s phone before driving off with Seun Kuti.”
Also, a police source at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba, Lagos, told our correspondents that the Afrobeat legend was humiliated and threatened by aggrieved police officers while detained in police cell on Monday.
“Some of my colleagues who were aggrieved over the incident took turns in humiliating and threatening Seun Kuti on Monday.
“The officers told him that he would have been dead if they were the ones he slapped during the altercation with their colleague on Saturday.
“He wasn’t even allowed to make a written statement until about 8pm on Monday night, and he refused to give a statement after he was brought to the counter.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin did not respond to inquiries by our correspondent concerning the incident as of press time, despite phone calls and text messages to his telephone line on Tuesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, the singer’s lawyer, in a statement, lamented that the police on Monday did not allow his wife access to give him food in the cell.
“…the consequence of this for Mr Seun Kuti was that his wife was refused the ‘privilege’ of delivering a meal to him in the evening of Monday May 15, 2023, even though there was no other arrangement in place to have him fed,” Olumide-Fusika said.