Social media users on Saturday expressed outrage at the action of a popular singer, Seun Kuti, who was filmed assaulting a policeman on the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos State. While some expressed disappointment at Kuti’s action, others asked that the artiste be sanctioned. A 12-second video clip which went viral on Saturday showed Kuti, who wore a red shirt and white pair of trousers, pushing a policeman, who stood beside a Toyota Hilux police van.
He then proceeded to slap the cop, as he shouted, “You dey crase, you dey mad?” A motorist, who filmed the incident from his car, was heard saying, “Omo na Kuti o. Na better news be this o.”
Reacting to the video, a tweep @usmanlade, wrote, “Seun Kuti can’t escape this sha. He don buy market.”
A popular tweep, @PoojaMedia, said Kuti had no right to assault the officer, adding that he was looking forward to seeing the police handle the case. He wrote, “You have no right to slap a police officer though. I will love to see how the police handle the case of Seun Kuti and slapping a uniform man.”
Another tweep @DejiAdesogan said, “Seun Kuti publicly assaulting a police officer on uniform is totally unacceptable. Honestly, some celebrities think they’re above d law in Nigeria, many get away with barbaric acts they can’t display in “saner climes.”
A Twitter user, @Obajemujnr_ , wrote, “Nobody is above the law; Seun Kuti (Mr. Know All) slapping a policeman should serve a jail term for it. We might not like the Nigerian police, but give them the respect they deserve. He preaches good governance while beating a police officer.”
On Instagram @oyin_ayobam wrote, “Let justice be served. Control your anger. Respect the uniform. We want a better country it starts from us.”
Another Instagram user, @tonia.gram_ wrote, “What is wrong is wrong. Irrespective of how police behave most times, I won’t justify what Seun did. He don enter trap.”
Another user, @viviantunuza added, “Why was he not arrested on the spot? am sure the police officer assaulted was not the only one at that spot. Must everything get the attention of the IG to do the right thing? It was annoying to see anyone slapped and most incredibly a police on duty. He should be dealt with.”
Kuti, in a reaction to the viral video on his Instagram page @BigbirdKuti, said the policeman made an attempt on his life and his family. He wrote, “He tried to kill me and my family, I have the proof but I no dey chase clout. He has apologised and I have agreed not to press charges. Make una mind una business, make the poor guy no lose him job.”
However, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, ordered the immediate arrest of Kuti, who is the youngest son of Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. The IG gave the order in a statement on Saturday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi.
The statement read, “The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, to arrest Afrobeat singer, Seun Kuti, who was captured on video assaulting a police officer in uniform.
“The IG has equally ordered a speedy and full investigation into the remote and immediate cause(s) of the assault and prosecution of the suspect accordingly,” the statement read.
Adejobi also quoted the IG as assuring Nigerians that the act of “contempt/disdain for symbols of authority” would not be tolerated, while “offenders of such hideous crimes will surely be brought to book.”
Attempts by our correspondents to hear from Kuti on the incident proved abortive, as he did not take his calls which rang out several times. However, Kuti, while reacting to the order for his arrest on Instagram, promised to cooperate with the police authorities. He said whoever was wrong should be punished. The force spokesman, Adejobi, while speaking to Sunday PUNCH, said Kuti had no justification for his action.
Adejobi vowed that the rights of the policeman would be held and promised that if the cop was indicted in the investigation, he would also be punished. He said, “Two wrongs cannot make a right. We have seen cases where policemen did wrong and we dismissed them, reduced their ranks and people know that when you report, we will take it up. That was why we also asked that investigation be done.
“But whatever it is, it is established that he (Kuti) assaulted a policeman and he will face the music. And if the policeman did anything unprofessional, he will go for it. But his own is obvious.
“Officially, legally and morally, for a man to slap another man is condemned. I have not seen anybody praise him for what he has done. Even if his dad were to be alive, I don’t think he will praise him. ”