Popular Nigerian musician, Azeez Fashola, also known as ‘Naira Marley’ has pleaded guilty for violating some provisions of the COVID-19 Regulations, 2020.
Recall the singer and his crew had, in June, flew into Abuja from Lagos State to perform at a drive-in concert at the Jabi Lake Mall, amid the lock-down order imposed in the nation’s capital to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Marley was arraigned before Magistrate Idayat Akanni at a Mobile Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting at the Eagle Square in Abuja for a four-count charge filed against him.
The charges were violating Presidential ban on interstate travelling, not wearing a face mask contrary to the Presidential Order imposing compulsory wearing of face mask on all persons within Abuja the Federal Capital Territory, violating social distance order as well as violating the dusk to dawn curfew in the territory.
The Mafo crooner, however, pleaded guilty to the charges and was fined by Magistrate Akanni of the sum N50, 000 for each of the counts.
The Magistrate also ordered that Naira Marley tender a public apology to the Federal Government of Nigeria in a national daily.
“We will be very detailed and also confirm the information given to our client by people who book him. Like in this instance, we were given the assurance that all the approvals from the government had 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,” the singer’s defense lawyer said in reaction to the conviction by the court.
He added that having gone through the trial, Naira Marley will henceforth be more vocal in the advocacy for the adherence to the COVID-19 safety guidelines by all.
Ikharo Attah, Chairman, FCT Ministerial Enforcement Task team on COVID-19 Restrictions, said, “I think for those of us in the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA and those of us in the COVID-19 team, this has been a very long struggle. The artiste himself today pleaded guilty that he broke the law and the Magistrate in her mercy was kind to fine him N50,000 on 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 who 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.”