Monday, 25th September 2023

Assault: Kuti apologises, gives officer N12,000 for vehicle repairs

By Bertram Nwannekanma and Eniola Daniel
16 May 2023   |   4:10 am
Afrobeat musician, Seun Kuti will be charged to court after police investigation.

Seun Kuti PHOTO: Twitter

• Officer should be uplifted for professional conduct, says NSCDC PRO
• Kuti won’t get fair investigation by Police, says HURIWA

Afrobeat musician, Seun Kuti will be charged to court after police investigation.

Spokesperson for Lagos State Command, Benjamin Hundeyin, disclosed this to The Guardian after the musician was detained at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Yaba, Lagos.

He had earlier turned himself, in at the Command Headquarters, Ikeja, following assault on a police officer in company of his lawyer and family representative.

Kuti was filmed on Saturday assaulting a police officer on the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos State.

A 12-second video clip which went viral on Saturday showed Kuti, who wore a red shirt and white pair of trousers, pushing the policeman, who stood beside a Toyota Hilux police van.

He then proceeded to slap him, as he shouted, ‘You dey crase, you dey mad’.

After the son of the late Afrobeat legend turned in himself, Hundeyin said the singer was placed under arrest in line with the law.

“The Command appreciates the public for their concern and assures that the ongoing investigation will be detailed, transparent, professionally pursued; and justice will be manifestly served for all parties involved.

“We are still investigating and we will make our report available at the conclusion,” Hundeyin said.

Meanwhile, Kuti’s attitude has continued to generate condemnations from well meaning Nigerians, disparaging the disdain it abhors on the symbol of Nigeria Police authority.

In a statement, yesterday, by spokesperson for Lagos State Command of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Oluwaseun Abolurin, condemned the action.

He stressed that the suspect has no right whatsoever to have resulted to self help by slapping the officer has shown on video that has gone viral let alone disregard the man in uniform.

He said: “The symbol of the Nigeria Police Force is on test. It is a show of shame before a social media driven world.

“It will be a welcome development for Seun Kuti to not only have a date in court but serve as deterrent to others. It is an insult to our collective integrity as a nation and it must depict that Nigeria is not a banana republic.”

Abolurin commended the police officer for emotional and psychological intelligence and recommend his upliftment base on this individual sacrifice that was instill over the years by virtue of rigorous training and professional conduct exhibited in the face of vehement provocations.

According to him, this will encourage and boost morale of personnel, to spur them to do more regardless of the hazards they endure in course of their professional duties.

“He’s of the opinion that recommending such officer for promotion will be an incentive that will be worthy of emulation by others,” he added.

MEANWHILE, following the incident that led to the arrest and detention of Afrobeat musician, Seun Kuti, on Monday, the suspect has apologised and given the sum of N‎12,000 to the assaulted officer for repairs of damaged vehicle on Saturday.

According to a source, the officer had trailed Seun Kuti to his Akin Osiyemi residence off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, after the musician bashed his vehicle on the Third Mainland Bridge.

The source said: “Seun Kuti was the one that bashed the officer’s vehicle, and the police officer followed him to call his attention to it, but the musician alighted from his car and slapped the policeman as seen in the trending video. However, the officer reported the incident at the Police Command in Ikeja.

“The police officer was alone. After the altercation, he followed Seun Kuti to his home in Ikeja, and the musician apologised to the policeman and gave him N12,000 to repair his damaged vehicle.

“But the officer reported the incident at the Area F Police Command in Ikeja, and deposited the N12,000 at the counter while he gave a written statement concerning the incident,” another source said.

Responding to an inquiry concerning Ṣeun’s apology and monetary compensation, Hundeyin said: Although the investigation is still ongoing, but your correspondence is correct. Seun Kuti apologised to the officer on Saturday, and gave him N12,000 to repair his damaged vehicle, after the officer followed him to his house in Ikeja after the altercation.

“Fortunately, the policeman had earlier reported the incident at the Area F Police Command, and deposited the N12,000 with the Command, before the video of the assault went viral on social media.”

ALSO, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the arrest, detention and investigation of Seun, the youngest son of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

Speaking against the backdrop of the self-surrender by Seun and his being handcuffed even when he was already within their jurisdiction, the group in a statement by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said it was clear sign of extra-judicial tendencies by the police.

According to HURIWA, the police can’t be allowed constitutionally to be the judge, the advocate and prosecutor in a case that both the IGP and the Police Service Commission have made prejudicial statements against Seun Kuti in violation of section 36 (1) of the constitution.

“Specifically, section 36 (1) of the Constitution states thus: ‘In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.

“In as much as we in HURIWA do not have any position about the encounter between the famous musician and a police officer, because we were not eye witness to what transpired, we condemn the hasty conclusions reached by both the Inspector General of Police and Chairman of the PSC who is a retired Police IGP.

“HURIWA respects the police as an institution and therefore does not support any form of assault on those wearing the uniforms bought for them by the taxpayers.

“HURIWA, also, is worried by the phenomenal rise in indiscipline and reckless driving by police drivers and how lawless some of the police drivers pilot police vehicles and breach traffic laws with impunity. We expected the IGP and the Chairman of the PSC, who is a very senior lawyer and a retired IGP, to have maintained decorum and not jump into hasty conclusions by prejudging a matter between two citizens-a police operative and citizen Seun Kuti.

“But these two powerful persons heading the policing institution and the police’s oversight platform, immediately jumped into biased conclusions and condemned Seun Kuti even before any sort of investigation was conducted. This is akin to allowing the police to be the judge, the accuser, the prosecutor all rolled up into one. This is irregular and unconstitutional and is a lynch mob justice.

“The absolutely one-sided opinions of the Police Chief of Nigeria, and the Chairman of the PSC, demonstrates one fact-that the policing institution is not suitable to investigate this vexed encounter between citizen Seun Kuti and a police officer, but the Lagos State Attorney General could have waded into the issue and play the unbiased umpire’s role by taking the matter to the competent court of law in line with section 6 of the constitution, which states thus: ‘The judicial powers of the Federation shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established for the Federation,” the group added.

HURIWA, however, stated that there wouldn’t be fair investigation by the same police that had reached a predetermined conclusion that Seun Kuti assaulted one of their own.

The rights group warned the police that they will have the human rights community to contend with should anything untoward happens to Seun Kuti, just as it backed Femi Falana (SAN) for wading in as the solicitor to Seun Kuti.

It also expressed optimism that Femi Falana will certainly not let the police apply physical, psychological or emotional tortures against Seun Kuti, who is a respected civil rights campaigner in his own right.

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