Son of music legend, late Fela Kuti, Seun, who turned himself in at the Lagos State Police Headquarters, Ikeja, yesterday, has been detained at the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, SCIID, Yaba, Lagos, former Panti.
Seun arrived the Police State Command about 8a.m. He was taken into custody and hand-cuffed. He spent about two hours at the command headquarters before he was moved to SCIID around 10a.m.
He arrived SCIID in handcuff and Vanguard gathered that he was ushered to D13, one of the departments at the SCIID to be interrogated by detectives. He was asked to write his statement, which he declined, preferring to wait for the arrival of his lawyer.
Vanguard gathered that at 6.40p.m., yesterday, Seun was still being detained in one of the cells on the ground floor of the two-storey building.
Meanwhile, his lawyers alleged that Seun was paraded by the police in violation of Section 9 of the Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, which had prohibited any form of parade of criminal suspects in Nigeria in Lagos State.
Recall that the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Alkali Baba had ordered the Commissioner of Police , Lagos State Command, Idowu Owohunwa to arrest Seun, after a video of him assaulting a policeman on the Third Mainland bridge went viral last Saturday.
Vanguard gathered that a senior police officer at the Command personally contacted Seun on his mobile phone, on Sunday evening , inviting him to report at the command, after efforts by a team of policemen, who visited his home to effect his arrest failed.
At the SCIID, after Seun was moved to D13, Vanguard learned that detectives requested that only one lawyer would be admitted to stay with him in the interrogation room.
To be charged for assault, battery
A source told Vanguard, about 5p.m., yesterday, that “He is still in the cell. He refused to write statement and the lawyers that came with him refused to go back. They were told that only one lawyer would be allowed to stay with him, since it was not a court session. The case will be charged to court. But he needs to put down his statement first. He will be charged for assault and battery.”
Seun refuses to eat
At noon, Seun’s wife and son visited him at the SCIID. His wife as gathered requested for what he would eat. But he declined eating any food, but requested for water.
Why he was handcuffed
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hudenyin, confirmed Seun’s arrest on his verified tweeter handle .
He said: “Afrobeat musician, Seun JKuti in the early hours of today, turned himself in at the Lagos State Police Command, Lagos State, in the company of his lawyer and family representative.
“He has been placed under arrest , in line with the law. The command appreciates the public for their concern and assured that the ongoing investigation will be detailed ,transparent , professionally pursued and justice will be manifestly served for all parties involved.”
Explaining why he was handcuffed, Hundeyin said: “He was handcuffed because the law empowers us to place on cuffs any suspect who has shown propensity for violence and propensity for evading justice.”
However, Seun’s lawyer, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, SAN, frowned at the way his client was treated by the Police.
Olumide-Fusika in a statement, yesterday, said: “Following his encounter with a policeman on the Third Mainland Bridge on May 13, 2023, my client, Mr. Seun Kuti reported himself in the office of the Commissioner of Police at the Police Command, Ikeja, at 8am today (yesterday).
“I accompanied him to the Ikeja Police station together with another lawyer, Mr. Femi Akinyemi from Falana and Falana chambers.
Police paraded Seun —Lawyer
“However, there was no interrogation as it was decided he would be moved to the Force Criminal Investigation Unit at Panti, Yaba. Before his movement, Mr. Seun Kuti, was handcuffed and his photograph taken in the open by the Lagos PPRO, Mr. Benjamin Hundeyin, who coordinated the parade and apparently shared the photograph of his parade in the media.
“Mr. Kuti is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved by the state. Therefore, the decision of the police to subject him to the media parade violates section 9 of the Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, which has prohibited any form of parade of criminal suspects in Nigeria in Lagos State.
“The Police is supposed to enforce the law, but prefers to disrespect and break it so casually and randomly. A Police institution that has no respect for the law it exists to enforce is not a good example to alleged law breakers.
“The decision of the police to handcuff Mr. Kuti is equally illegal as it constitutes a violation of Section 5 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
“After handcuffing him, the Police then drove him in a long convoy of heavily armed personnel from Ikeja to Panti Lagos, where he was again displayed for viewing to the men and officers of that police formation and is currently held. We await the next move of the Police on the misdemeanor alleged against Mr. Seun Kuti.”
Seun’s manager speaks
Meanwhile, Seun’ Manager, Moses Ayo, in an exclusive interview with Vanguard, insisted that the former was provoked by the officer on the day of the of the assault.
He said: “On that day, Seun was driving with his family on the third mainland bridge, when he was suddenly hit from behind, by a police truck being driven by an officer. This act from the officer led Seun’s daughter into a sudden shock, as she was visibly shaken by the hit.
“This made Seun to pursue the truck, double crossed it and forced it to a stop. When the police officer got down from the truck, instead of apologising, he was arguing with Seun, which provoked him to slap the officer.
“People should realise that men on uniform also provoke civilians. Immunity is no excuse for impunity,” Ayo added.
Shortly after the video of 40-year-old Seun slapping and pushing a policeman on the Third Mainland bridge in Lagos went viral, another video of him went viral where he was seen boasting to have slapped several policemen in the past.
In the second video, he explained that he assaulted the policeman in self defense, after he attempted to kill him and his family members.
Seun’s action is coming barely two months after a similar one was perpetrated by Habeeb Okikiola popularly called Portable occurred, in Ogun State.
Mixed reactions greeted picture of Seun in handcuff, that went viral. While some Nigerians faulted the police for handcuffing him, after turning himself in, others applauded the action, saying it would serve as deterrent to other Nigerians who might wish to toe Seun’s line.
@Oriyomipeep on Twitter wrote “No matter who you are, if you err, u should pay for it.”
For @tompounds, he tweeted “I actually like Seun, but slapping a police officer in public, is a no. Thank God he is with the police now. He can clear his name if he feels he did nothing wrong.”
On his part, @tunde Osho tweeted, “Nice one. Let him clear his name, if the police actually threatened to kill him, as he claimed.”
For @obi Aloze on Facebook, he wrote “New Nigeria is possible with new behaviour. #prosecuteSeunNow for a better Nigeria,” while @queen Ozegbe Obasi on Facebook wrote,” I’m beginning to like Nigerian police mode of discipline these days , when their officers do anyhow, they punish them and when you do anyhow to the men on uniform because of your popularity , I’m sorry for you. Anyway Seun has a smart way of escaping punishment.”
On the other hand, @Olatunde Olalekan on Facebook wrote, “Police are bad, but Seun should have listened to his wife and children. It’s criminal beating a man in uniform.”
For Lawrence Okoro, he tweeted, “Dear Nigeria Police Force, we don’t hate Seun Kuti, we just hate injustice. When your officers are indicted and we demand justice, we won’t appreciate any form of delay tactics, it should be expedited just as this.”