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Court Adjourns Suit Challenging Funke Akindele, Others Conviction

The Lagos State Government has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit challenging the conviction of actress, Funke Akindele, her husband, Abdul Rasheed Bello, and 236 others.

Akindele, alias Jenifa, Bello and the others were arrested for violating the state’s lockdown and social distancing order to check the spread of COVID-19.

She and Bello, in particular, were convicted on April 6, 2020 by an Ogba Magistrates’ Court, days after they held a crowded house birthday party in violation of the social distancing order.

They were sentenced to 14-day community service after pleading guilty.

But a Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, approached the court, challenging the constitutionality of the Lagos State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020 pursuant to which Akindele, her husband and 236 other residents were convicted and sentenced.

Ogungbeje prayed the court to declare that “the purported arrest, arraignment, trial, conviction and sentence of person/Nigerian citizens under the Lagos State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020 for an alleged offence unknown to law and violation of same, which cannot be grounds for criminal liability is a nullity.”

At the proceedings in the matter before Justice Maureen Onyetenu, the government, through its counsel, Jonathan Ogunsanya, said it had filed a preliminary objection, praying the court to dismiss Ogungbeje’s suit for lacking in merit.

But Ogungbeje’s counsel, Fatai Adebanjo, requested for time to reply to the preliminary objection.

As a result, Justice Onyetenu adjourned hearing till July 21.

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