Court picks date to hear suit challenging Funke Akindele’s conviction

Court picks date to hear suit challenging Funke Akindele’s conviction

The Federal High Court in Lagos will on July 10 hear the suit asking it to quash the conviction and sentencing of Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele; her husband, Abdul-Rasheed Bello; and 236 others arrested, pursuant to the Lagos State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had signed the prevention bill in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Funke Akindele-Bello was arrested and sentenced by the Lagos state police command over the house party hosted in her house to celebrate her husband’s birthday on Saturday at their Amen Estate residence. However, the plaintiff in the suit, Olukoya Ogungbeje, wants the court to declare that the law is inconsistent with provisions of Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution relating to fundamental human rights. Mr Ogungbeje told the court that he had a duty “to protect and defend the sanctity of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from any contravention or infraction.” He urged the court to declare that “the purported arrest, arraignment, trial, conviction and sentencing of persons/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.” He also urged the court to hold that by virtue of the Court of Appeal’s pronouncement in the case of Faith Okafor vs Lagos State Govt. and ANOR on November 4, 2016, “a directive issued by a governor is not a law and violation of same cannot result in criminal liability.” Justice Maureen Onyetenu adjourned to hear the suit on July 10.

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Idowu Babalola

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