An Ogba Chief Magistrates’ Court on Monday found Nollywood multiple award winning actress, Funke Akindele a.k.a. Jenifa, and her husband, a music crooner and producer, Abdul Rasheed Bello a.k.a. JJC Skillz of the offence of social distancing over the birthday party she held last Saturday for her husband.
The party held by Funke for her husband last Saturday at their Amen Estate, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos residence in contravention of the lockdown order of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State order on social distancing which forbade a gathering of more than 20 people.
Chief Magistrate Yewande Aje-Afunwa, in her judgment on Monday, convicted the couple of a one count charge brought against them by the Lagos State Government.
Chief Magistrate Aje-Afunwa sentenced Funke Akindele and husband, Abdul Rasheed Bello, to 14 days community service each, to start from 9.00 a.m. to 12 noon each day. They were also to go to 10 major public places in the state to sensitise the public on the COVID-19 pandemic.
They are also to pay a fine of N100,000 each after which they would observe the period for isolation.
The arraignment of the duo was the fall-out of the party held by Funke for her husband last Saturday at their Amen Estate Ibeju Lekki, Lagos residence.
Funke and her husband were represented by their counsel, Abayomi Alagbada.
The Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN) who was the prosecutor, told the court that Funke and her husband Bello, flouted the directive of the Lagos State Governor when the gathered more than 20 people at their Lekki home.
The charge dated April 6, 2020, number MIK/A/43/2020 signed by the Director, Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) Yaquib Oshoala.
They both pleaded guilty.
Also, the Lagos State Police Command on Monday arraign a controversial singer, Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, over his alleged violation of government’s restriction order to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
Naira Marley was identified to be among the more than 20 guests, who attended the birthday party which Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele, organised for her husband, in violation of government’s restriction order.
Following their guilty plea, Onigbanjo had urged the court to sentence the defendants as charged to serve as deterrence.
But defence counsel, Alagbada, in his allocutus, pleaded for leniency on behalf of Funke and her husband and urged the court to temper justice with mercy.
“I plead for leniency on the following grounds. Both of them are first time offenders. They are respectable members of the society and have two young children to cater for,” he pleaded.
After taking their plea, Magistrate Aje-Afunwa stood the matter down for over one hour 30 minutes and went into her chamber to consider facts of the case and sentencing.
Among the dignitaries that attended the party included; Naira Marley, Rasheed Gbadamosi, a former Lagos State governorship aspirant among others.
The party, it was said, had in attendance more than the permissible number of people in contravention of the restriction order to contain COVID-19 pandemic.
Members of the public who watched the video had condemned their action.
Funke Akindele had apologised to the public through her twitter handle following outrage by members of the public who watched the video of the event.
However, Dettol Nigeria and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), have reacted to the arrest of Funke Akindele by the Lagos State Police Command.
In a statement posted on Twitter on Monday, Dettol Nigeria stated that it “does not condone any breach of the guidelines on Covid-19.” The company also said that Funke Akindele is not a brand ambassador for NCDC.
“We have been made aware through social media that Funke Akindele recently, acting in her personal capacity, had a celebration which is against the caution to the public on social distancing during the covid-19 pandemic.
“The NCDC partnered with Dettol on a public service message to educate our communities about preventive measures against COVID-19. Funke is not a brand ambassador of the NCDC.
“As a responsible organisation and brand, Dettol does not condone any breach of the guidelines on Covid-19. As an organisation, we are concerned at the turn of events.
“We will continue to support NCDC and the Nigerian govt to fight COVID-19.”
This is coming weeks after Akindele had emphasised the need for proper hygiene as well as social distancing in a coronavirus video campaign sponsored by Dettol Nigeria.
The actress and her husband Abdul Rasheed Bello popularly known as JJC Skillz had hosted a birthday party at their home in Ibeju-Lekki on Saturday, 4th of April, 2020.
The party which had a large number of people in attendance, as well as celebrities, was contrary to social distancing measure which the NCDC advised Nigerians to maintain in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in its response quoted Dettol Nigeria’s tweet and stated that it has not engaged brand ambassadors as part of its approach against coronavirus. The agency maintained that all Nigerians should practice social distance in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“As an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria, NCDC has not engaged brand ambassadors as part of our response to #COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) have advised its members to observe all the directives of the Federal and state governments in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus in Lagos State and the nation.
Its President, Obi Casmir, gave the advice while reacting to Funke Akindele-Bello’s violation of the restriction orders by the Lagos State Government.
He said that Nigerians in general and entertainers in particular should always obey government’s law and order.