By Kunle Adedoyin
The high court in Lagos State has granted bail to Afeez Fashola, musical artiste, popularly known as Naira Marley.
The singer was granted bail of N2 million on Thursday, at the resumed bail application hearing, following his arraignment on 11 charges of internet fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Olalekan Ojo, his lawyer, prayed the court to grant the musician bail on liberal terms.
He also argued that, as a celebrity, the defendant would not jump bail and urged the court to grant bail to the musician in its discretion as allowed by the law.
He noted that the law provided for a prison term of not more than seven years for the offence, adding that the law provided that the defendant would be entitled to bail.
However, Rotimi Oyedepo, EFCC counsel, opposed the application for bail, claiming that the defendant was a “flight risk”.
He said that there was upsurge in the rate of cyber crime popularly termed “yahoo yahoo” in Nigeria, arguing that the menace had left the country in a devastating condition and dented its image.
He also submitted that, as a celebrity, the conduct of the defendant had a multiplier effect on the youth looking up to him as model.
Oyedepo prayed the court to deny the musician bail.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo, in his ruling, held that the reasons adduced by the prosecution were not strong enough to warrant denial of bail to the defendant.
The judge, thereafter, granted the bail with two sureties in like sum, one of which must be on grade level 10 on the Federal or State employment.
The other surety must have a landed property within the court’s jurisdiction, said the judge.
Oweibo adjourned the case till October 22, for accelerated hearing.