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I’m ‘Senior Marshall’ in cell not ‘General Overseer’ — Seun Kuti


I’m ‘Senior Marshall’ in cell not ‘General Overseer’ — Seun Kuti

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…’performs free show for inmates, policemen’

Remanded Afrobeat singer, Seun Kuti, has said contrary to reports circulating in the online and print media, suggesting that he was crowned “General Overseer” in the cell by inmates, his rank is “Senior Marshall.”

Seun said this through a human rights lawyer, Adesina Ogunlana, who visited the singer in police custody alongside another lawyer and human rights activist, Ayo Ademiluyi, on Saturday.

The lawyer also said that the singer had been thrilling fellow inmates and policemen to free shows while in detention.

Reports circulating over the weekend had suggested that the singer who was reportedly seen with a Bible had been crowned GO by co-inmates meaning that he was also leading them in prayers.

But Ogunlana debunked this on Saturday in a post via his Facebook account, after visiting Seun at the State Criminal Investigation Department in Lagos.

He also revealed that the detained singer was being treated well in custody.

“With Ayo Ademiluyi Esq this evening, after a visit to detained Seun Kuti. SK was in fine mettle and well treated in the IPO office at the SCID, Muslim Smith Street, Alagomeji, Lagos,” he wrote.

According to him, delighted upon the visit, “the lively chap (Seun) was in his elements surrounded by his doting wife and two close, devoted female relatives.”

“Contrary to reports that he had become ‘General Overseer’ in detention, he told us that his rank is SENIOR MARSHALL and that he has held a free show for the inmates, even thrilling the officers on duty!” Ogunlana added.

Seun, who was seen in a video that went viral on May 13, slapping a police officer, on the Third Mainland Bridge, turned himself in at the Ikeja Police Station in Lagos on May 15, after the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, ordered his arrest.

The son of late Afrobeat singer and activist, Fela-Anikulapo Kuti, was arraigned at the Magistrates’ Court in the Yaba area of the state for assaulting a police officer.

Magistrate Adeola Olatunbosun who presided over the matter on May 16, earlier remanded Seun in police custody for 48 hours for the police to complete their investigation.

However, upon the expiration of the 48 hours, the police sought to detain him for another four days to further their investigation, an application that was also granted by the court on Thursday, May 18.

Some artists and groups of activists have been calling for the singer’s release.

Popular musician, Timaya Odon, professionally known as Timaya, called for Seun’s release on Saturday.

In a post via his verified Facebook page, Timaya wrote, “Free Seun Kuti.”

American rapper, Talib Kweli, in a post via his verified Instagram page, also called for Seun’s release.

“Nah free the bro! @bigbirdkuti is family. He is featured on my latest single from #liberation2 with @madlib and @casspernyovest Nat Turner,” he posted, claiming “This is exactly how they did his father Fela Kuti. And his grandmother Funmilayo Kuti. #freeseunkuti”

A group of activists also kick-started #FreeSeunKutiCampaign. In a statement made available to this newspaper earlier in the week, they sought an “unbiased” process in the investigation of the singer.

A group in London, Committee for a Workers International, in a group picture that circulated Friday night, held posters with the inscription “#FreeSeunKuti”

The PUNCH however gathered that mixed reactions trailed the singer’s action in the viral video, as some, including activists held the view that it was wrong to slap a police officer.

But the singer after the incident had in an Instagram post alleged a murder attempt on himself and his family by the policeman in question.

Seun’s lawyer, Olumide Fusika, SAN, when contacted on Friday over rumours that there was an application in court by the prosecutors to allow them to draw the singer’s blood sample for a test, he could not immediately confirm the information.

“I may not be able to say categorically what and how it happened. I also heard,” he told our correspondent, noting that he also sent a lawyer to go to the court when he heard. The PUNCH is yet to get further details from him.

Seun, if found guilty, is liable to three years imprisonment as the offence contradicts Section 356 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act.