Police in Lagos yesterday said they had arrested and arraigned popular musician, Azeez Fashola aka Naira Marley, and his Manager, Seyi Awouga, for allegedly violating inter-state nonessential travel ban. The court, however, fined Marley and Awouga N100,000 each. The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Bala Elkana, said that about 3:30p.m., policemen from the State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti, Yaba arraigned Marley in Lagos State Special Offences (Mobile) Court, Oshodi, for violating the cessation of movement and inter-state travel order in Lagos.
On June 8, about 2p.m., Naira Marley, in violation of the lockdown order, embarked on a non-essential travel from Lagos to Abuja and back to Lagos the same date, through the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, for a musical concert in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. The concert, which was supposed to be a drive through concert, had many of Naira Marley’s fans, known as Marlians in attendance. A video, which later went viral, showed Naira Marley stepping out of a plane and it was also noticed that many of the fans jettisoned the social distancing guidelines.
The video caused a buzz in the social media, with many people questioning the perceived double standard of the police and the Federal Government. Also criticised was the airline that lifted Naira Marley and his crew to Abuja. The owner of the airline, through a statement, explained that the management actually thought the said Fashola, was the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola. According to the airline, it was due to that belief that order was given that the musician should be taken to Abuja.
Elkana said: “He is arraigned alongside his Manager, Seyi Awouga, on a onecount charge of breach of cessation of movement and inter-state travel order made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Regulation 4(i) of the Lagos State Infectious Disease Emergency Prevention), Regulation No 2 of 2020 and committed an offence punishable under Section 58 of Public Health Law, Ch. P16, Laws of Lagos State 2015.” The accused pleaded guilty to the charge and were awarded a fine of N100,000 each by the presiding magistrate.