Following his arraignment in court on Monday and subsequent remand, the issue of up-and-coming singer, Naira Marley has remained the most topical discussion in the Nigerian entertainment arena. Fellow entertainers, fans and others continue to express mixed feelings about the matter of his arraignment as well as why he was remanded in prison following his arrest by the EFCC on May 10.
Speaking to Saturday Telegraph on what led to his being remanded in prison on a day he could have been released on bail, Naira Marley’s lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, said they filed an application early to ensure his release on bail but it was not to be.
“The bail application was filed last week Friday, filed and served that Friday (May 17). The arraignment took place on Monday and the Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, indicated that the prosecution would be opposing and requested for an adjournment to enable them, they were still within the time frame, to file their counter affidavit and written address in opposition. That was exactly what led to the adjournment.”
Dwelling on the 10-day difference between the date of his arraignment and the next court date, a point of agonising detail for the fans of the musicians and others who want to see him freed, Ojo added: “One would have thought that the matter would have been adjourned to maybe this week’s Friday (yesterday). However, the Counsel said he was in other courts and he would like to be there personally. That was the reason for the adjournment to that date and as you know, the bail application comes up for hearing on May 30th, which is Thursday next week, hopefully the court will grant him bail because as it has been rightly noted, it is a bailable offence, there is no reason why there should be any problem about the bail application. You can’t say such a person will run away, no, it is not possible.”
On rumours regarding whether Naira Marley had been remanded in EFCC custody or handed over to prison authorities following the court ruling, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said the High Court sitting in Ikoyi was unequivocal in its pronouncement that the “Issa goal” singer be remanded in prison, with specific emphasis even on the location.
“There is no basis for that speculation on where he is being held. The court ordered that he be remanded at Ikoyi Prison and to Ikoyi Prison he was taken after the court ruling on that day. So he is in Ikoyi Prison in accordance with the order of the court,” the legal practitioner stated.
“How confident are you approaching Thursday when his bail application is expected to be tabled for hearing?” Saturday Telegraph asked Ojo, to which the lawyer represented by Taiwo Oreagba in court on Monday replied thus: “I am not a judge, the court has the discretion to admit him to bail or not. What I am saying is we will be urging the court to exercise the discretion in his favour knowing full well that by virtue of the mandatory provisions of Section 162 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, bail is recognised in non-capital offences as a right.”