By Benjamin Omoike
A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos has sentenced celebrity actress, Funke Akindele Bello and her husband, AbdulRasheed Bello, to 14 days community service for violating Lagos State government Law on social gatherings.
The couple was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Yewande O. Aje-Afunwa, and pleaded guilty to the charges leveled agains them. The court fined them N100,000 each and sentenced them to 14 days community service, and thereafter, they are to embark on a period of self isolation.
The couple had held a birthday party at the home, situated at number 9, Gbadamosi Close, Abijo, Amen Estate, Lekki, Lagos, during which they uploaded a video which went viral, leading to their arrest.
The defenfants, Funke Akindele and Abdul Rasheed Bello, were charged for a one count offence bordering on social distancing of Lagos State government made pursuant to regulation 8(1)(a)(b) 17(1)(i) of the Lagos State Infectious Disease (Emergency Prevention) Regulation 2020 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 58 Public Health Law Cap. P.16 Vol 9, Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
They were brought to Court by detectives from the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Yaba, led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of investigation, DCP Yetunde Longe.
The prosecuting team was led by the Hon. Attorney General of Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN.
The charge was read to the accused persons by the Court and they pleaded guilty. The Court found them guilty as charged and sentenced as follows: The defendants are to pay a fine of N100,000 each, sentenced to 14 days community service, three hours per day, excluding Saturday and Sunday; each Defendant shall visit 10 important public places within Lagos State, to educate the public on the consequences of non-compliance with the restriction order; and they must submit the names and phone numbers of every person who attended the party.
They shall be placed on isolation by the State Government to determine their COVID-19 status. Failure to abide by the above directives shall attract more severe punishments.
‘The brief facts of the case as contained in the charge are: On 04/04/2020, the two accused persons held a party at their residents with over twenty persons in attendance contrary to the social distancing directives made in pursuant to Regulation 8(1)(a) and (b) & 17(1)(i) of the Lagos State Infectious Disease (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020 and therefore committed an offence under Section 58 of the Public Health Law Cap P16 Vol. 9, Laws of Lagos State 2015.
‘The suspects were arrested by operatives of Lagos State Police Command following a viral video showing a large number of persons mainly in the entertainment industry in an Estate, along Ajah, Ibeju-Lekki axis, Lagos celebrating a birthday party organised by Funke Akindele Bello and her husband Abdul Rasheed Bello.
‘Azeez Fashola a.k.a Naira Marley is now in Police custody. He will also be charged to Court for violating the restriction orders. The Command has launched a manhunt for the remaining persons who attended the party. The Commissioner of Police Lagos State Command, CP Hakeem Odumosu psc expressed his profound gratitude to Lagosians and other well meaning Nigerians that speak up against the violations. Together we can stop the spread of COVID-19.’