Lawsuit challenging Funke Akindele, husband and others’ COVID19 conviction thrown out by court

A lawsuit seeking to set aside the conviction of actress Funke Akindele, her husband, Abdul Rasheed Bello – JJC, and 236 others who were prosecuted for violating Lagos state’s 2020 lockdown and social distancing order to check the spread of Covid-19, has been thrown out by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

Recall that 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 in violation of Lagos State’s social distancing order.

Justice Akintayo Aluko who presided over the case brought to the court by Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, who challenged the constitutionality of the Lagos State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020 pursuant to which Akindele, her husband and 236 others were convicted and sentenced, held that the suit was incompetent and disclosed no reasonable cause of action.

Ogungbeje in the lawsuit marked FHC/L/CS/588/2020, which has the Lagos State Government, Attorney-General of Lagos State, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and the Inspector-General of Police as defendants, had also sought, among others, an order compelling the Respondents jointly and severally to tender a public apology in three widely read newspaper publications to persons/Nigerian arrested, arraigned, tried, convicted and sentenced.

The Nation reported that the defendants argued that 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 also noted 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.

Delivering judgement on the case, Justice Aluko said; 

“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.”

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