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Lawyers fault Bobrisky’s 6-month jail sentence

Barrister Deji Adeyanju and his legal partners have faulted the six-month sentence handed down to Okuneye Idris Olarewaju, popularly known as Bobrisky, over Naira mutilation.…

Barrister Deji Adeyanju and his legal partners have faulted the six-month sentence handed down to Okuneye Idris Olarewaju, popularly known as Bobrisky, over Naira mutilation.

In a statement, Adeyanju and partners urged security agencies to adopt a community service approach for victimless crimes like currency mutilation in the country.

On Friday, a Federal High Court in Lagos jailed Bobrisky, with no option of fine.

Justice Abimbola Awogboro handed down a six-month sentence to Okuneye, who has been in detention since his arrest last week.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned him on a six-count charge.

Two of the charges were later dropped, while he pleaded guilty to naira abuse, but pleaded for mercy as a first-time offender.

He will now serve the jail term in the Ikoyi Prison, Lagos.

The statement by the lawyers, titled, ‘Statement on the Six Months Sentence Handed Down to Mr. Okuneye Idris Olarewaju (Aka Bobrisky), reads: “We note with concern, the six months sentence handed down to Mr. Okuneye Idris Olarewaju (AKA Bobrisky), without an option of fine, for Naira mutilation offence, as reported by various National news platforms.

“While we do not condone any attempt to break down the law or actual violation of the law, we are, however, constrained to state on record that at a time when private individuals, non governmental organisations, states and federal governments are taking steps to decongest our prisons, Mr. Olarewaju, a first time offender, has been sentenced to six months imprisonment, notwithstanding his allocutus and promise to use his platform to sensitise the public against Naira mutilation.

“In handing down sentences, we urge our courts to be mindful of the cultural undertone surrounding offences. The act of spraying Naira or (otherwise called Naira mutilation), though an offence criminalised by law, is one that has been part of our cultural practice from time immemorial. The relevant agencies, therefore, have a duty to carry out large scale sensitization on the issue, before seeking to prosecute offenders.

“We also note that even at the said event where Mr. Olarenwaju was alleged to have mutilated the Naira, there were several other persons engaging in the same act. The question is, why single out Mr. Olarenwaju? In prosecuting offences like this, security agencies must be careful not to give the impression that the Defendant is being targeted for alleged offences other than those stated on the face of the charge.

“In conclusion, we urge our security agencies to adopt a community service approach for victimless crimes like Naira Mutilation, while we reaffirm our commitment to the rule of law and the protection of human rights at all times.”

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