The Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mobile Court sitting in Abuja on Friday has sentenced the music superstar, Azeez Fashola, aka Naira Marley, for violating Coronavirus (COVID-19) Regulation, 2020 made by Presidential Order pursuant to Section four of the Quarantine Act, Cap. 02, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Naira Marley pleaded guilty to the four-count charges pressed on him by the prosecuting team and was fined two hundred thousand naira (N200,000).
Reading the four-count charge, Magistrate Idayat Akanni, ordered Marley to pay 50 thousand naira for each of the counts as well as publish a public apology to the Federal Government of Nigeria in a national daily.
The four-count charges include; violating Presidential ban on interstate traveling, not wearing of face mask contrary to the Presidential Order imposing compulsory wearing of face mask by all persons within Abuja the FCT, violating social distance order as well as violating dusk to dawn curfew in the territory.
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It could be recalled that on Saturday, 13 June Marley and his crew flew from Lagos State to Abuja to perform at a concert organised at Jabi Lake Mall.
Reacting to the judgment, the defender’s lawyer, Mohammad Yunusa, said that moving forward, “we will be very detailed and also confirm the information 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.”
He further said that having gone through the trial, Marley will henceforth be more vocal in the advocacy for the adherence to the COVID-19 safety guidelines by all.
The Prosecutor, Chief State Council for the Government, Udeme Umanah, explained that the offenses have a minimum fine of N2,000, and then the court has its own jurisdiction to impose an N50,000 fine per count since he (Naira Marley) have admitted liability.
On his part, the Chairman, FCT Ministerial Task team on COVID-19, Attah Ikharo, said “I think for those of us in the FCTA and those of us in the COVID-19 team, this has been a very long-struggling matter. The artist 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 charges.
“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 the law and even if you run far and think the time has overtaken the process of justice, that is not true. You can see that after like 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.”