A Lagos Magistrates’ Court, Yaba, yesterday remanded singer, Seun Kuti, to 48 hours in police custody to enable seamless conclusion of investigation.
Magistrate Adeola Olatunbosun gave the order following an application for remand brought before it by the police.
Recall Kuti was arrested on Monday after he surrendered himself to the office for questioning over alleged unprovoked grievous assault of an Inspector on the Third Mainland Bridge, Saturday.
Detectives from the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, where he was being interrogated, had presented him before the court yesterday on a holding charge of serious assault, to get lawful remand order.
During the proceedings , Police Prosecutors, S. A Adebese and Morufu Animashaun, prayed the court to remand Kuti for 21 days pending legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), to allow for seamless completion of police investigation.
But Kuti’s lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, urged the court to dismiss the remand application by the prosecution as they (defense team) were not aware. He argued that the prosecution sneaked the defendant to court without prior notice to his legal team.
Magistrate Olatunbosun, after listening to the arguments from both sides, announced a five-minute recess. Stressing that she needed to deliberate on her own before ruling on the application, the Magistrate handed her phone to the registrar to avoid interfering calls.
Ruling after the recess, Olatunbosun held: “Court has decided to override any public opinion and pass the judgment of the court. Following the remand application presented before the court, I am advising that the case file be duplicated and sent to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions within 72 hours.
“The defendant is hereby remanded for 48 hours in police custody to allow the police to conclude their investigation.
“After 48 hours, the defendant will be granted bail in the sum of N1m with two responsible sureties, a three years tax payment receipt that is verifiable; one of the sureties must have a landed property within the court jurisdiction.”
She adjourned the case till May 23, for mention.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that detectives, armed with a search warrant, combed Kuti’s home yesterday evening. It was however unclear if incriminating items were recovered from the search.
#RevolutionNow convener, Omoyele Sowore, who took to his Twitter page to lament about the search, wrote: “Nigeria Police Force in Lagos has invaded Seun Anikulapo Kuti’s house after he was granted bail. In search of further evidence to press charges!”
Earlier, one of Kuti’s lawyers, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, accused the police of conducting media trial, starving the suspect and denying his wife access to him.
Olumide-Fusika in a statement alleged that the command’s spokesman, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, had leaked mugshots of the suspect taken at SCID to the public and also provided information which had not been volunteered by Kuti.
He said Kuti would address Hundeyin’s published “investigative findings” in due course, at an appropriate time and place, defending himself against any allegations made.
Olumide-Fusika said: “Mr. Benjamin Hundeyin who goes by the formal title of Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer but doubles as the Investigating Police Officer into the case of alleged assault of a policeman by my client, Mr. Seun Kuti, has issued a Report of his investigative work.
“Mr. Seun Kuti would have expected that having completed his investigative work, Mr. Benjamin Hundeyin, a law enforcer, would proceed according to law by sending the file containing his report of investigation for legal evaluation towards possible prosecution.
“Mr. Seun Kuti is nevertheless not surprised that Mr. Benjamin Hundeyin chose instead to make his investigative report the subject of the media publication…” referencing the spokesman’s confirmation of claims that the singer apologized to the Inspector and gave him N12,000 to repair his damaged vehicle which he bashed.
Continuing, the lawyer said: “Although he had been with the Police since 8:00am on Monday, 15th May, Mr. Seun Kuti notes that it was at about 8:00 pm that day, after Mr. Benjamin Hundeyin had already completed and published his investigative report above, that he was asked to make a statement to the Police at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba.
“Mr. Seun Kuti has therefore volunteered to his interlocutors a statement to the effect that since Mr. Benjamin Hundeyin has already done the investigation and issued and published his report on it, there was no useful purpose to be served by any statement from him. He will, at the right time and place, and in as rigorous a manner possible under the law, defend himself against Mr. Hundeyin’s published ‘investigative findings’.
“The consequence of this for Mr. Seun Kuti was that his wife was refused the “privilege” of delivering a meal to him, even though there was no other arrangement in place to have him fed. We await the next move of the Police on the allegation of crime against Mr. Seun Kuti.”