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Lagos withdraws charges against Naira Marley, Gbadamosi, sentences 78 lockdown violators to one month community service

The Lagos State Government has withdrawn charges against a musician, Azeez Fashola, alias Naira Marley, and a politician, Babatunde Gbadamosi.
Naira Marley, Gbadamosi and his wife were charged before the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Ogba for attending a crowded birthday party in violation of the government’s social distancing directive to check the spread of coronavirus.
They were scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday, The PUNCH reports.
But the government, according to one of the defence counsels, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), withdrew the four counts filed against the three defendants.
The PUNCH earlier reported that policemen barred journalists from the court premises.
At the end of the proceedings, Adegboruwa briefed journalists on what transpired in the courtroom.
He said the state withdrew the charges on the condition that the defendants would tender an apology to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
While Naira Marley and Gbadamosi were lucky to escape punishment, at least 78 other Lagos residents were arrested and convicted for violating “the principles of social distancing.”
Lagos police spokesman Bala Elkana in a statement on Wednesday said convicted persons “were arrested playing football on major streets and having group exercise in large number.”
“The suspects were arraigned in Chief Magistrate Court Yaba on one count charge of violating the social distancing directives of Lagos State Government,” Elkana said.
Elkana said 73 of the arrested persons pleaded guilty to the charge while three pleaded not guilty.
“The Court ordered that all the suspects should be kept in Government Isolation Centres for 14 days and thereafter serve one month community service,” the statement stated.
“The three suspects who pleaded not guilty will after observing the 14 days isolation, be brought to Court for trial,” it added.
A lockdown was imposed in Lagos, the neighbouring state of Ogun and the capital, Abuja, by President Muhammadu Buhari last week in order to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

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