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COVID-19: Group queries arrest, trial of Funke Akindele, wants same treatment for FCT minister

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the arrest and prosecution of Funke Akindele and her husband, AbdulRasheed Bello popularly known as JJC Skillz, for breaching the restriction order put in place by the Lagos State government to check the spread of COVID-19.

HURIWA in a statement on Tuesday signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko claimed that the Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, Ramatu Tijani Aliyu, violated the COVID-19 stay-at-home order and social distancing regime by going about supervising the fumigation of some areas of the metropolis in Abuja alongside dozens of residents and a large retinue of hangers on and staff.

The Civil Rights Advocacy group, therefore called for the arrest and prosecution of the Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory for overtly flouting COVID-19 directives set by the Federal Government.

The group further condemned the Lagos State government for punishing Funke Akindele and her hubby claiming they were made scapegoat by the state to divert attention from the heightened accusations over a lack of due diligence in the application of the N10 billion COVID-19 fund.

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“This choreographed detention and prosecution of Funke Akindele and co was orchestrated as a perfect diversionary tactics to keep people busy talking about it whilst not remembering that some Lagos residents angrily rejected loafs of bread donated to them as relief materials by some officials.

“This was just some kind of exhibitionism by the Lagos state administration to try to hoodwink the gullible people that it is working even when government has failed to address the larger issues of forcing families to stay at home with no electricity power and no clean water supplies to millions of Lagosians as we write.

“In as much as we are not condoning lawlessness, we believe that Funke Akindele and her family are victims of a lynch mob social media justice advocates who found an ally in the Lagos state administration that yearns to divert attention from some deep rooted social failures during this Covid-19 curfew.

“Her conviction is illegal and we urge her to repudiate her guilty plea and file an appeal making use of the services of a smart legal team to overturn the charade of a court decision done by a court whose prosecution team also failed to observe social distancing rule as can be seen from the photo taken from the entrance of the court room,” the group added.

The Civil Rights Advocacy group also accused the Police of double standards for failing to arrest the serving FCT Minister, Aliyu and her security details for not observing social distancing guidelines while fumigating some areas in Abuja on Monday.

“Is the Nigerian law not supposed to apply to everyone? Why was Funke Akindele arrested and charged for flouting the curfew when she only held a social party of few guests compared to the Abuja minister of state who gathered nearly one hundred people in a place to commission the jamboree of fumigation of Abuja markets? This double standards defeat the Cause of Constitutionalism,” the group said.

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