The police on Tuesday withdrew the car theft charges filed against the hip-hop singer, Azeez Fashola, alias Naira Marley, and his two siblings, Idris and Babatunde Fashola; and cousin, Kunle Obere.
The police filed four counts of conspiracy, stealing, assault and obstructing the police against them before the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court at Tinubu.
While Idris, Babatunde and Obere were arraigned on December 16, Naira Marley has yet to present himself in court.
At the December 31, 2019 hearing, the magistrate, Mr Tajudeen Elias, had threatened to issue a warrant for the arrest of the singer.
But after being persuaded by Naira Marley’s lawyer, Ayodeji Awokulehin, the magistrate further adjourned the case till January 14, 2020.
At the resumed proceedings on Tuesday, however, the prosecution told the magistrate that the defendants and the complainant in the case, Mr Adenekan Ademola, had resolved to settle the matter out of court.
The magistrate was presented with the terms of settlement of the case, endorsed by both parties.
As a result, the magistrate struck out the four counts, freeing Naira Marley and the others.
“I’v view of the letter of withdrawal, the defendants are hereby discharged,” the magistrate ruled.
At the last hearing, Naira Marley’s lawyer, Awokunlehin, had hinted that his client was exploring an out-of-court settlement talk with the complainant, Ademola, who alleged that Naira Marley and others stole his Toyota Camry vehicle with Registration No. FEE 120 AA valued at N1.8m and an iPhone X5 worth N330,000.
The lawyer had expressed the hope that the matter would be settled before Tuesday (today).
“The police have no problem with an out-of-court settlement; we hope that an agreement will be reached before the next adjourned date,” Awokulehin had said.
The police prosecutor, Edet Okoi, had told the court that the defendants committed the offence on December 15 at Eko Hotel Roundabout, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Okoi said, “One of the vehicles in the musician’s motorcade hit the complainant’s vehicle from the back while he was throwing out money from his vehicle to his fans.
“When the complainant came down from the vehicle to inspect the damage, Obere entered the complainant’s Camry and drove it off with the motorcade. Ademola reported to the police and the vehicle was tracked to where it was parked at Jakande Crescent, Oniru in Lagos.
“When the police arrived at the location in company of the complainant, Naira Marley and his boys started beating the complainant.
“A group of boys obstructed the police from arresting the musician but they were able to apprehend the three defendants.”
The prosecutor said they acted contrary to sections 112,172, 287 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.