The Lagos State government has dropped charges against Mr. Azeez Fashola popularly known as Naira Marley alongside a politician, Babatunde Gbadamosi and his wife, Folashade who were also attendees of the 43rd birthday party of Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele’s husband, Abdul-Rasheed Bello, aka JJC Skillz.
DTN gathered that the four-count charges against the Defendants were dropped for public interest.
In spite of the lockdown still in place, dozens no fewer than 200 of Marlians also known as fans to singer Naira Marley were at the premises of an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court to show massive support for their icon, who was to be arraigned on Wednesday the 8th day of April, 2020 .
The Defendants were alleged to have contravened the COVID-19 induced social distancing directives of the Lagos State Government.
There was heavy uproar outside the court premises when Naira Marley and his co-defendants were being driven away by the police after the four-count charges against them were dropped.
The huge stampede came with loud cries of “Marlians” by the fans some of whom ran after the police vehicles to catch a sight of the singer. The security officials present had to fire some gunshots in the air to disperse the fans.
Mr. Ismail Adewale who is a Marlian and an estate agent, who goes by the alias Lord Mayor, said that he came to the court to show his love, solidarity and support for the singer.
He said “I like Naira Marley because he represents an average man on the street. He also represents an identity of the street guys. We love his music and what he projects.
“Though Naira Marley flouted the law, the Court should temper justice with mercy and give him a lenient sentence.
“What he did is against the enactment of the social distance law but that does not mean he should not be charged because there is a law in place.”
Adewale added that “We just want Lagos State Government and the people at the helm of affairs of the court to temper justice with mercy.
“If he is going to be tried in court, it is not because the government does not like him, they are just using him as deterrence because he is an ambassador of an average man on the street,”
Mr. Adewale noted that no one is above the law and that even American superstars such as R. Kelly and Michael Jackson have had to face trial when they were accused of committing crimes.
Another Marlian, Miss Abiodun Bakare wo is also a businesswoman, said that she came to the court to show some love to the singer.
She said “There is nobody above the law, I just love Naira Marley and I will always be his fan,”
Furthermore, Mr Bolaji Akinrele, a student, said he was in court to see Naira Marley and to witness the outcome of the court case. He described the singer as the “voice of the voiceless people on the streets”.
Akinrele noted that though he felt Naira Marley was being unfairly treated by the government and the press, the law must take its course.
“I love Naira Marley because of his music and his attitude toward the government. He tells us the truth, let us to know how the government is treating us.
“The government treats us like we do not have rights. They do not give us our entitlement. For example, in this time of Coronavirus, we are supposed to collect some entitlements, but we are not getting anything.
“There should be someone enlightening us on what is going on and I think Naira Marley is the one who has been doing that,” he said.