Funke Akindele, a Nollywood actress, was on Monday, April 6, 2020, arraigned before an Ogba Chief Magistrates’ Court over the birthday party she held for her husband, a music crooner, and producer, Abdulrasheed Bello, whose stage name is, JJC Skillz last Saturday.
The party held at their Amen Estate Ibeju-Lekki Lagos residence in contravention of the lockdown order of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State order on social distancing which forbade a gathering of more than 20 people.
Akindele was arraigned alongside her husband, Bello on a one-count charge before Magistrate Y.O. Aje –Afunwa.
Funke and her husband were represented by their counsel, Abayomi Alagbada.
The Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) for the Attorney General of Lagos State, who was the prosecutor, told the court that Funke Akindele and her husband Bello, flouted the directive of the Lagos state Governor when the gathered more than 20 people at their Lekki home.
The charge dated April 6, 2020, number MIK/A/43/2020 signed by the Diector, Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) Yaquib Oshoala.
It stated: “That you (1) Funke Akindele (2) Abdul Rasheed Bello on the 4th day of April 2020 at 9,Gbadamosi Close, Amen Estate, Ibeju Lekki in the Lagos Magisterial District gathered at the aforementioned address with over twenty persons contrary to the social distancing directives of Mr Governor of Lagos State made pursuant to Regulation 8(1)(a) & (b) and 17(1)“) of the Lagos State Infectious Disease(Emergency PreventionMegu/atian 2020 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 58 Public Health Law Cap P16 Vol.9 Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
Akindele and her husband pleaded guilty.
After taking their plea, Magistrate Aje-Afunwa stood the matter down for 30 minutes and went into her chamber.
Funke Akindele And Husband Sentenced
Funke Akindele, and her husband, Abdul Rasheed Bello have been sentenced to a 14 days community service, fine of N100,000 naira each, after which they will observe a period of isolation.
Chief Magistrate Aje Afunwa in her judgment said, “The defendants shall pay a fine of N100,000 within three days from today. They are to serve community service for a period of 14-days for three hours from 9am-12pm daily excluding Saturday and Sunday, the community service shall be done in any public place in Lagos.
“The defendants shall be made to visit 10 important public places in Lagos State to generate awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequences of non-compliance with the laws created to curb the spread of the disease.
“Each defendant shall provide the names, addresses and GSM numbers of every person who attended the party within 24-hours.
“In order to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread, the defendants shall be immediately held in isolation for 14-days in a place only known to the Lagos State Ministry of Health,”
The magistrate stongly condemned the action of the defendants, saying their sentence will serve as deterence to others.
“The gathering was a reckless and irresponsible act. When thousands have died or have been infected and the whole world is mourning it is callous for an individual to throw such a huge party,” the magistrate continued.
“While governments are paying millions to flatten the curve the two defendants were strengthening the curve by throwing a party.
“Have the two defendants lived up to the expectations of the public and teeming youths that look up to them? the answer is no”.
The chief magistrate noted that the defendants had no prior criminal record and had looked remorseful and after the sentence the general public will be put on notice of the consequences of flouting the social distancing directives.
Others in the Lagos prosecution team are the director of the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mr Yhaqub Oshoala, Jide Martins, and an assistant-director of the DPP, Jonathan Ogunsanya.
Members of the couple’s defence team were Mr Abayomi Alagbada and Mr Akeem Fadun.
Alagbada in his allocutus (plea for mercy) said that the couple are first time offenders and very decent members of the Lagos society.
“They have two young children who need the attention of their parents and one of them is very ill,” their lawyer told the court.
“The first defendant (Akindele-Bello) is an ambassador of Lagos State, she advocates that people should pay their taxes and she uses her talent to advance the cause of the state, she used to do it and with continue to do it.
“I urge my lord to consider this relationship which will continue after now and I hope my lord will play a role in ensuring the relationship between the first defendant and Lagos State continues,” he said.