A Lagos State Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Ogba on Monday convicted and sentenced Nollywood star, Funke Akindele and her husband Abdul Rasheed Bello a.k.a. JJC Skillz to 14 days Community Service.
The court also imposed a fine of N100,000 each on the convicts, which they must pay within three days from Monday.
The Magistrates, Mrs. Yewande Aji-Afunwa also ordered that the couple must perform their community service sentence for a period of 14-days for three hours from 9am-12pm daily excluding Saturday and Sunday, the community service shall be done in any public place in Lagos.
The court further ordered that the celebrity couple should be isolated for 14 days in a place to be determined by the Lagos State Ministry of Health.
The court also gave the convict 24 hours to provide the names addresses and phone numbers of all those that attended the birthday party to the Lagos State Ministry of Health.
“The defendants shall be made to visit 10 important public places in Lagos State to generate awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequences of non-compliance with the laws created to curb the spread of the disease, the court held.
Magistrate Aji-Afunwa handed down the verdict after the couple pleaded guilty to a one count charge of violating Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu directive on social distancing.
The convict, who were arraigned before the court by the state government were accused of organizing a birthday party in their house with over twenty persons in attendance.
The convicts were alleged to have committed the offence on April 4 at their residence 9, 6 Badamosi Close, Amen Estate, lbeju Lekki in the Lagos.
According to the Attorney General of the state, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), who led the prosecution team, their action is contrary to section 8(1)(a) 81(1)) and 17(1}(i) of the Lagos State Infectious Disease (Emergency Prevention) Regulation 2020.
He also maintained that the offence is punishable under Section 58 Public Health Law Cap P16 Vol.9 Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
After their plea were taken, Onigbanjo asked the Magistrate, Mrs. Yewande Aji-Afunwa to sentence them accordingly.
But their lawyer, Yomi Alagbada urged the court to temper Justice with mercy as the defendants are first time offenders.
Alagbada also informed the court that the convicts are parents with many dependants and that they are respected members of the society.
In her judgement, Magistrate Aje-Afunwa chided the couple for their actions and said that the sentence will serve as a deterrent to others.
She stated, “the gathering was a reckless and irresponsible act. When thousands have died or have been infected and the whole world is mourning it is callous for an individual to throw such a huge party.
“While governments are paying millions to flatten the curve the two defendants were strengthening the curve by throwing a party.
“Have the two defendants lived up to the expectations of the public and teeming youths that look up to them? the answer is no,” she held.
The court further stated that the convict had no prior criminal record and had looked remorseful and after the sentence but the general public will be put on notice of the consequences of flouting the social distancing directives.
The charge reads: That you (1) FUNKE AKINDELE ABDUL RASHEED BELLO on the 4th day of April, 2020 at 9, 6 badamosi Close, Amen Estate, lbeju Lekki the Lagos Magisterial District gathered at the aforementioned address with over twenty persons contrary to the social distancing directives of Mr Governor of Lagos State made pursuant to Regulation 8(1)(a) 81(1)) and 17(1}(i) of the Lagos State Infectious Disease (Emergency Prevention) Regulation 2020 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 58 Public Health Law Cap P16 Vol.9 Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
Akindele on Saturday organised a house party to celebrate her husband JJC’s birthday at her residence in Amen Estate Ibeju-Lekki in Lagos
Some of the dignitaries that attended the party included; Naira Marley, Rasheed Gbadamosi, a former Lagos state governorship aspirant among others.
The Federal Government last week ordered a total lockdown for residents of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun States to curb the spread of COVID-19.