When news broke last week that singer, Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, was wanted by the police, his fans borrowed his lyrics and asked, ‘What did they say Marley did this time’ because of his frequent run-ins with the law.
As it turned out, the singer had attended a birthday party in honour of actress, Funke Akindele-Bello’s husband, Abdulrasheed, aka JJC Skillz, the day before at the couple’s home in Amen Estate, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos. Videos of the event went viral online and Nigerians lambasted the attendees, who were more than 20, and including a former Lagos State governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party in the 2019 governorship election, Babatunde Gbadamosi, for ignoring the social distancing order by the federal and state governments to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Akindele-Bello and JJC were subsequently arraigned and sentenced to 14-day community service and ordered to pay a fine of N100,000 each.
The Lagos State government had filed charges against Naira Marley, Gbadamosi and his wife, Folashade, who also attended the party.
But what surprised many was that the charges against Naira Marley and Gbadamosi were later dropped. This led to speculations on social media and blogs as to who or what could have helped the partygoers get such a ‘sweet’ deal.
However, the suspense ended when the Lagos State Government released the letters of apology by Gbadamosi and Naira Marley to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. The real indication as to how Marley and Gbadamosi were able to get the charges dropped lay in the name of the singer’s legal counsel, Damilola Ayinde Marshal, a daughter of top fuji musician and All Progressives Congress chieftain, Wasiu Ayinde, aka K1 de Ultimate.
K1 de Ultimate is known to be close to the National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, and is influential in government circles.
The letter read in part, “On Monday, April 4, 2020, I submitted myself for questioning and was detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Lagos State, after my statement was taken and thereafter released on administrative police bail on Tuesday, April 5, 2010, on allegations that I violated the Social Distancing directives of the Lagos State government, pursuant to the Infectious Diseases Regulation of Lagos State 2020 and the Quarantine Act, Cap Q 2 Volume 14, Laws of the Federation…on the day under reference, Mr Oshoala, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions who personally appeared on behalf of the Lagos State (and) withdrew all the above charges against me based on the agreement of my legal counsel, Miss Damilola Ayinde Marshal…”
It is widely believed that Damilola father’s closeness to the powers that be in the state helped to get such a soft landing for her client, Naira Marley.