LAGOS, Nigeria — Afrobeat musician Seun Kuti was granted bail by the Chief Magistrate Court in Yaba, Lagos State on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, easing some of the tension surrounding his recent arrest.
The court also issued a 48-hour deadline to police, demanding the completion of their investigation into allegations that Kuti assaulted a police officer.
The move was a notable setback for the prosecution. Police prosecutor S. A. Adebese had urged the court to remand Kuti for 21 days, stating that the period would enable the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to prepare thorough legal advice.
“We believe that a three-week remand will allow for a comprehensive investigation and preparation of a well-advised legal counsel,” Adebese told the court.
But the defense counsel, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), fiercely opposed the plea.
Falana implored the court not to remand his client, highlighting that he was unaware of any such application.
“We strongly oppose the plea for remand. My client should not be detained on the basis of an unclarified allegation,” Falana insisted.
“We were not previously made aware of such an application, and we believe this is a clear indication of a rush to judgment.”
Seun Kuti, son of the legendary Fela Kuti, was arrested for allegedly slapping an officer after his vehicle was stopped on Lagos’ Third Mainland Bridge.
The incident has stirred up a considerable public outcry, both in support of and against the acclaimed musician.
The court’s decision to grant bail and expedite the police investigation may shed light on the events of that day sooner than expected.
Yet, as the clock ticks on the police’s 48-hour ultimatum, many Nigerians eagerly await the final word on this contentious issue.