Released on bail, Nigeria’s Kuti to begin concert tour amid assault trial
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP):
A Nigerian Afrobeat star facing trial on charges of assaulting a police officer will embark on a delayed concert tour after being released on bail, his manager said Wednesday.
Seun Kuti, who was in court on Wednesday, has concerts scheduled in more than a dozen countries but his departure had been on hold because of the trial, his manager Ayo Moses told AP.
The son of Nigerian musical icon and political agitator Fela Kuti, who himself was serially detained by Nigerian military regimes, Seun Kuti had been held for more than a week after he was caught allegedly assaulting a police officer in Nigeria’s economic hub of Lagos.
At Wednesday’s court hearing, the presiding judge ruled that it was the public prosecutor – not the police – that had the power to prosecute the musician. The judge then adjourned the case until a further hearing on July 3.
“He is on bail and as a responsible citizen, he will continue to enjoy his rights because he is presumed innocent,” Femi Falana, his lawyer, said after the hearing.
Viral videos appeared to show an agitated Kuti shouting and pushing the officer along a major road in Lagos last week. It is still not clear what caused the confrontation, though Kuti alleged the officer in question “tried to kill me and my family”.
While he was in detention, the police searched Kuti’s house, causing an uproar among some Nigerians and his lawyers. But Benjamin Hundeyin, a spokesperson for the Lagos police, defended the search as necessary and approved by the court.
“In the course of our investigation, we stumbled on certain suspicious things that needed to be proven/disproved beyond reasonable doubt,” Hundeyin said without providing further details.