Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Femi Falana and Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, who are both attorneys to Afrobeat musician, Seun Kuti, have said their client’s travel to Switzerland on Thursday amid his ongoing case with the police, is not unlawful or illegal.
The senior lawyers also noted that Kuti is currently not being prosecuted in court by the Nigeria Police Force or any other prosecuting authority.
There are reports that the musician jetted out to Switzerland on Thursday to kick off his Europe tour in Zurich.
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Mr Kuti confirmed this on his Instagram story on Thursday, while sharing a picture of himself on the plane with the caption, “Euro tour kicks off tonight in Zurich.”
This follows the singer’s release on bail on Tuesday night, following his nine days detention in police custody for allegedly assaulting a police officer.
Reacting to the development on Thursday, Falana said, “Seun Kuti will stand his trial. Also, the Magistrate has ordered the police to send the case file to the Department of Public Prosecution.
“Anytime he is required to stand his trial, he will appear in court. Seun Kuti is presumed innocent until the contrary is proven. As far as we’re concerned, once the state files a charge and a date is fixed for arraignment, he will be in court
“There’s nothing illegal about a person travelling out of the country while they’re on bail. The issue of depositing his passport was not one of the conditions for his bail. As far as we’re concerned, once the state files a charge and a date is fixed for arraignment.”
However, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, SAN, noted that Seun Kuti is currently not being prosecuted, adding that it was left to the DDP to make a decision on the matter once it receives the case file.
Olumide-Fusika said, “He will surely be in court on July 3, 2023, and on each day he’s required to appear. It should, however, be noted that Mr Seun Kuti is not being prosecuted in court whether by the NPF or any other prosecuting authority.
“The DPP, after receiving and studying the police investigation file will decide the offences Mr Kuti is to be charged with. It is after being charged with specific offences that Mr Kuti will be arraigned to take his plea. If he pleads not guilty, trial dates will be set, and the trial will take place. If he pleads guilty, he will be sentenced to appropriate punishment.”
There are also reports that the police had earlier prevailed on the court to grant it the right to prosecute Kuti, stating that Section 23 of the Police Act gives the police the right to not only arrest but also prosecute suspects.
On Wednesday, the police prosecuting team led by Morufu Animashaun applied to vacate the remand application presented in court on May 16 and arraign the defendant properly in order to focus on his prosecution.
However, the Yaba Magistrates Court of Adeola Olatunbosun on Wednesday ruled that the police cannot be the complainant and also the prosecutor at the same time.
Olatubosun said, “I need the advice of the DPP to know whether he should be prosecuted or not.”
She thus adjourned the case till July 3, 2023, for the DPP’s advice.
When contacted for comments, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, said he was not authorised to speak on the matter.
“I am not authorised to speak on Seun Kuti’s matter, please. Kindly contact the Head of Chambers, Nigeria Police Force, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Simon Lough, SAN,” Hundeyin said.
However, DCP Lough didn’t respond to phone calls and text messages by our correspondent on Thursday.