Categories: Local

COVID-19 Rules Violation: Court Throws Out Suit Challenging Funke Akindele, Others’ Conviction

Nollywood Actress, Funke Akindele-Bello

 

The Federal High Court in Lagos has struck out a suit seeking to set aside the conviction of popular Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele, her husband, Abdulrasheed Bello popularly known as JJC Skillz and 236 others, who were prosecuted for violating the state’s lockdown in 2020.

Justice Akintayo Aluko held that the suit disclosed no reasonable cause of action and was also incompetent.

Akindele and her husband were convicted on April 6, 2020, by the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Ogba, days after they held a crowded house birthday party contrary to Lagos State’s social distancing order.

But a Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, approached the court, challenging the constitutionality of the Lagos State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020 pursuant to which Akindele, her husband, and 236 other residents were convicted and sentenced.

Joint respondents in the suit are the Lagos State Government, Attorney-General of Lagos State, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and the Inspector-General of Police.

Ogungbeje also sought, among others, an order compelling the Respondents jointly and severally to tender a public apology in three widely read newspaper publications to other persons/Nigerians arrested, arraigned, tried, convicted and sentenced.

But the Lagos State Government and the AG opposed the move through their counsel, a Deputy Director, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mr. Adebayo Haroun.

They filed a notice of preliminary objection against the suit on July 10, 2020.

According to them, Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, 2004 allows the governor to make the regulations where the President of Nigeria had not made such regulations.

They contended that the Regulation was made for public safety, public good, and protection which is larger and far greater than that of an individual such as the Applicant.

In his judgment delivered on June 2, 2022, a copy of which was obtained by Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele on Friday, the court agreed in part with the government.

Justice Aluko observed that the regulations disclosed in its preamble that the governor made the regulations by virtue of the powers conferred on him by the Lagos State Public Health Law of Lagos State, 2015 and in particular section 8 of the Quarantine Act and that Sections 8 provides that if regulations under section 4 of the Act was not made by the President, power to make such regulations may be exercised by the governor in respect of his state.

The judge held: “This means that the regulations made by the governor on the 27/3/2020 is valid within the context of section 8 of the Quarantine Act having been made at a time when the president had not made his own regulations. The Lagos State Infectious Disease (Emergency Prevention) Regulations, 2020 is therefore subsidiary legislation validly made pursuant to section 8 of the Quarantine Act.

“Contrary to the argument of the Applicant, section 17 of the Regulations actually created certain offences ranging from failure to comply with a restriction order, prohibition, or doing anything contrary to the provisions of the Regulations.

Section 17 (2) of the Regulations provides that any person who contravenes the provisions of the Regulations shall be liable under the Quarantine Act, Public Health Law of the State, and any other existing law to fine or imprisonment or both in accordance with the extant laws.

“It is of note that section 5 of the Quarantine Act provides for penalties or punishment against any person who contravenes provisions of the regulations made under the Act.”

While commending Ogungbeje for “seeking to protect citizens’ rights from violations”, the judge noted that the suit had “no support of the law.” Justice Aluko added: “In total, I hold that this suit has disclosed no reasonable cause of action against the Respondents.

“The instant suit is incompetent and the court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate over same.

“Accordingly, this suit is hereby struck out for those reasons.”

oluchi

Disqus Comments Loading...
Share
Published by
oluchi
Tags: COVID-19 Funke Akindele

Recent Posts

  • Local

Oyebanji Signs N21bn Supplementary Budget

  Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, on Friday accented to the N21 billion supplementary budget duly passed by the…

7 mins ago
  • Qatar 2022
  • Sports

Qatar 2022: Full Last 16 Fixtures, Date And Time

  Following a sensational end to the group games of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup on Friday, the round…

47 mins ago
  • Headlines
  • Local

NRC To Resume Abuja-Kaduna Rail Operations On Monday

  The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) will resume the Abuja-Kaduna passenger train service on Monday, with only two return services.…

1 hour ago
  • Qatar 2022
  • Sports

Skipper Son Eyes ‘Another Miracle’ Against Brazil At World Cup

  Son Heung-min wants his South Korea side to pull off "another miracle" and beat Brazil on Monday in the…

2 hours ago
  • Local

2023: I Will Reduce Unemployment By 50% In My First Year, Kola Abiola Vows

   The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) presidential candidate, Kola Abiola has said if elected in the 2023 polls, he…

3 hours ago
  • Qatar 2022
  • Sports

Argentina, Netherlands Eye Quarters As World Cup Last 16 Kicks Off

  Australia take on Lionel Messi's Argentina in a David v Goliath World Cup showdown while the United States look…

3 hours ago