Portrait of Nigerian singer and musician Seun Kuti

Seun Kuti.

Photo by David Corio/Redferns.

Seun Kuti Released From Police Custody

After eight days in police custody, the Nigerian musician has been released following an arrest for assaulting an officer.

Seun Kuti, the acclaimed Afrobeat musician and son of the legendary Fela Kuti, has been releasedf ollowing an eight-day stint in police custody. This marks freedom for the Nigerian artist, whose ordeal started on May 16 when he voluntarily surrendered himself at the State Criminal Investigation Department in Panti, Lagos State.

According to Punch Nigeria, Seun's sister, Yeni Kuti, shared that the musician has successfully met the conditions set forth by the magistrate for his bail, and was released. She shared that relatives Lande Ransome-Kuti and Funke Kuti stood as the sureties for Seun.

“They have perfected his bail, the judge has signed and the sureties have been accepted. They have gone to the sureties’ houses to inspect, Lande and Funke stood as sureties for him,” Yeni said.

In spite of his release, the Nigeria Police submitted an application to arraign the singer on charges of assaulting a police officer, citing the absence of legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution.

Magistrate Adeola Olatunbosun, presiding over the Chief Magistrate's court in the Sabo-Yaba region of Lagos State, delivered a ruling dismissing the request and the court adjourned the proceedings until July 3, allowing ample time for the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions to provide their legal guidance on the matter.

According to reports, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, who is also Seun’s lawyer, firmly objected to the matter.

“We have a serious objection to the proposed arraignment on two solid legal grounds; he is entitled to at least 48 hours’ notice within which to answer to the charge, under section 82 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos,” Falana said.

The legal counsel also stated:

“We came here this morning only for the police to say a charge has been filed and most importantly, this charge is contemptuous of the valid and subsisting court order of May 16, that upon the completion of an investigation, the prosecution of the case is to be transferred to the state government, as police can’t investigate and prosecute the case.”

During the hearing, police counsel Cyril Ejiofor sought the court's permission to proceed with the prosecution, as charges had been filed against the artist. In a countermove, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, representing Seun Kuti, urged the court to reject the application, accusing the police of non-compliance with existing court orders.

The scion of the iconic Kuti dynasty—renowned for their fearless musical activism against corrupt governments and unyielding commitment to social justice—Seun Kuti had become ensnared in a legal entanglement following the release of a viral video that showed him assaulting a Nigerian police officer.

As news of his detainment reverberated through Nigeria's cultural landscape, fervent supporters and music enthusiasts expressed their solidarity, eagerly anticipating his eventual release. Not everyone supported his actions though, as others pointed out that although the Nigerian Police Force was renowned for its corrupt ways, they still deserved respect.

Following the circulation of the video clip, which was captured on Lagos’ Third Mainland Bridge, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, ordered for the immediate arrest of a renowned musician.

Seun is free for now, but this is still a developing story.