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Lawyer faults Bobrisky’s six months jail term

A lawyer and human rights activist, Deji Adeyanju, has faulted the six months imprisonment sentence handed down to controversial crossdresser, Idris Okuneye, popularly known as Bobrisky, for abuse of naira.

He also urged the courts to be mindful of the “cultural undertone” surrounding the spraying of naira notes in Nigerian social events, saying a community service sentence would have sufficed for Bobrisky’s offence.

The PUNCH Online reports that the Federal High Court in Lagos, on Friday, sentenced Bobrisky to six months imprisonment without the option of a fine for abusing the naira.

Justice Abimbola Awogboro, while sentencing the convict, said the judgment would be a deterrent to others who are found abusing and mutilating the naira.

The court had, on April 5, convicted the crossdresser after he pleaded guilty to the charge of abusing the naira filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

But in a statement on Friday, Adeyanju faulted Bobrisky’s sentencing, without an option of fine, when the authorities were moving to decongest prisons across the country.

The statement read, “We note with concern, the six-month 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 (otherwise called naira mutilation), though an offence criminalised by law, has been part of our cultural practice from time immemorial. The relevant agencies, therefore, have to carry out large-scale sensitisation 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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