Rights lawyer, Mr Tope Akinyode, has said he would approach an Abuja magistrate court asking it to vacate its judgment against a taxi driver, Emmanuel Imhoudu.

Imhoudu, who stripped naked after his vehicle was impounded by security operatives was on Thursday, sentenced to six months in prison for picking passengers during the lockdown of the city.

Alternatively, he was asked to pay N10, 000 fine on each of the three counts filed against him and also make a public apology on any television network.

But Akinyode in a statement said the fine of and television apology for violating the restriction order has no place under any known law. 

He said, “I have been briefed by Mr Emmanuel Imhoudu over the ordeal leading to his arrest, prosecution and eventual conviction at the Magistrates Court in Abuja.

“I was told by Mr Imhoudu that all through his trial and conviction, he was not represented by any lawyer. 

“As a matter of fact, he was not even availed a copy of the charge sheet against him to know in clear terms what his offences are. 

“Furthermore, in convicting Imhoudu, the magistrate ordered him to pay a fine of N30,000 for the three offences he was convicted of or be sentenced to six months imprisonment.

“Interestingly, he was also requested to issue a public apology on a television network. 

“Imhoudu has already paid the N30,000 but we will be challenging the judgment at the earliest possible time because the whole trial is a charade that is bound to be set aside.

“It is quite interesting to note that by virtue of Section 5 of the Quarantine Act under which the presidential regulation which Mr Imhoudu purportedly flouted was made, the maximum fine or monetary punishment that a defendant is the sum of N200 or imprisonment for a term of six months. There is also no provision to issue a television apology after conviction, which if allowed could demoralise the convicted person and suffer him double jeopardy.

“In essence, the fine of N10,000 and television apology for violating the restriction order by the President finds no expression under any known law.

“Against the foregoing and upon Mr Imhoudu’s instruction, we shall approach the magistrate’s court asking it to vacate its judgment which clearly has no legal basis.”


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