The Lagos State Police Command yesterday reiterated that Afrobeat musician, Seun Kuti, will be taken to court for arraignment for assaulting a policeman on duty in Lagos on Saturday as captured in a viral video.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos, Benjamin Hundeyin, told our correspondent that the musician, who turned himself in yesterday, was handcuffed and detained, would spend the night in custody, reports The PUNCH.
“Seun Kuti is still in our custody; he’ll be arraigned once investigation is concluded,” Hundeyin confirmed the development to our correspondent in a telephone interview last night.
Seun, the youngest son of the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti, submitted himself at the State Criminal Investigation Department, popularly known as Panti, in Yaba, Lagos State, yesterday morning.
He was accompanied by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, alongside a lawyer from Falana and Falana Chambers, Femi Akinyemi.
The police released a video clip and pictures showing the musician in handcuffs while being paraded by police officers at the SCID, Lagos.
Trouble began on Saturday when a video of the musician assaulting a police officer on the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos State went viral.
In the 12-second video, Kuti, who wore a red shirt and a 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.
But Seun Kuti, 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.
However, our correspondent reliably gathered yesterday that the singer had later apologised to the policeman and offered him N12,000 to repair his (policeman’s) damaged vehicle.
According to sources privy to the development, the policeman trailed Seun Kuti to his Akin Osiyemi residence off Allen Avenue, Ikeja.
The source said, “The policeman was alone, and after the altercation, he followed Seun Kuti to his home in Ikeja, and the musician apologised to the policeman and gave him N12,000 to repair his damaged vehicle.”
Responding to an inquiry concerning the apology and monetary tip, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Monday, the Police Public Relations Officer, Hundeyin, confirmed the apology and the N12,000 offer by Seun Kuti.
Hundeyin said, “Although investigation is still ongoing, your correspondence is correct. Seun Kuti apologised to the officer on Saturday, and gave him N12,000 to repair his damaged vehicle, after the officer followed him to his house in Ikeja after the altercation.
“Fortunately, the policeman had earlier reported the incident at the Area F Police Command, and deposited the N12,000 with the command, before the video of the assault went viral on social media.”
As condemnation trailed the assault video on social media, the IG ordered the musician’s arrest.
Also, the Police Service Commission, on Sunday, issued a strong statement, demanding the prosecution of the musician to serve as a deterrent to others who may want to toe the same path.
Meanwhile, Olumide-Fusika, who accompanied Seun to the police station, critised the police for allegedly subjecting his client to a media trial.
The SAN complained that “Mr Seun Kuti was handcuffed and his photograph taken in the open by the Lagos PPRO, Mr Benjamin Hundeyin, who coordinated the parade and apparently shared the photograph of his parade in the media.
“Mr Kuti is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved by the state. Therefore, the decision of the police to subject him to the media parade violates Section 9 of the Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, which has prohibited any form of parade of criminal suspects in Nigeria in Lagos State.
“The police are supposed to enforce the law but prefer to disrespect and break it so casually and randomly. A police institution that has no respect for the law it exists to enforce is not a good example to alleged lawbreakers.
“The decision of the police to handcuff Mr Kuti is equally illegal as it constitutes a violation of Section 5 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
“After handcuffing him, the police then drove him in a long convoy of heavily-armed personnel from Ikeja to Panti Lagos, where he was again displayed for viewing to the men and officers of that police formation, and is currently held.
“We await the next move of the police on the misdemeanor alleged against Mr Seun Kuti.”