A drama played out at the Ikeja Magistrate’s Court, Lagos State, on Monday as the embattled hip-hop artiste, Damini Ogulu, aka Burna Boy, was arraigned.
The suspect was brought into the courtroom by the Investigating Police Officer, Sergeant Olagunju Olatunji, when the court was about to sit and was whisked away in a sports utility vehicle immediately after his arraignment.
He swiftly entered into the waiting SUV, Lexus 300RX with number plate, AAA 473 DB, in company with some policemen in mufti and was escorted from the court premises to an unidentified location.
The 26-year-old singer was dressed in jeans and shirt, wearing jewellery and glasses.
Burna Boy, who was arrested for alleged involvement in the robbery of his colleague, Abiye Jumbo, popularly called Mr. 2kay, was arraigned on two counts of “accessory to after fact and failing to give information to the police on the attack.
He had been declared wanted by the state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, on November 20, but he later appeared at the command on Friday.
He was promptly detained in the custody of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Ikeja.
Four suspects, including Burna Boy’s road manager, Joel Kantiok, had been paraded for allegedly robbing Mr. 2Kay on October 22 in his room at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, shortly after ‘Buckwyld N Breathless’ concert held in the facility.
During the parade, the suspects, except Kantiok, confessed to having carried out the attack on the orders of Burna Boy.
While giving an account of the incident, Imohimi had said, “Around 2 am, someone knocked on the door of Mr. 2Kay’s room and introduced himself as a room service official from the reception. Mr. 2Kay opened the door and four men entered with a gun. They robbed him of his Audemais Piquet, an automatic gold wristwatch valued at $25,000; gold jewellery valued at N1.5m; an iPhone 7 valued at N380,000, a Samsung Galaxy S7 valued at N240,000, a Samsung Galaxy S5 worth N110,000; Addidas shoes valued at N75,000; three bottles of perfume worth N180,000 and a cash sum of N45,000.
“The gang then tied him and his girlfriend up before leaving the room. During investigations, the girlfriend of one of the gang members, Nimota Mutajero, was arrested. Her confession led to the arrest of three suspects. They confessed that one Damini Ogulu, aka Burna Boy, an artiste, through his road manager, one Joel Kantiock, contacted and paid them to rob Mr. 2Kay to teach him a lesson.
“Kantiock was subsequently picked up in his hideout at Zaria, Kaduna State.
“He confessed that his boss, Burna Boy, instructed him to look for armed men that could rob Mr. 2Kay. Burna Boy mobilised the gang with an initial cash sum of N50,000 and a subsequent sum of N50,000 when the job had been completed.
“I advise Ogulu, aka Burna Boy, to report himself at the nearest police station since efforts to locate him at his residence at 7 Cheview Estate, Lekki, or any known hangout, have proved abortive.”
The other four suspects – Balogun Ademola, Obina Igwe, Tunmise Omotore and Joel Kantiok – had been charged with robbery and remanded in custody before Burna Boy was arrested.
The artiste pleaded not guilty to the two counts bordering on aiding of an offence preferred against him by the police when he was brought on Monday before a magistrate, Mrs. B.O. Osunsanmi, who held brief for Mrs. Y.O. Aje-Afunwa.
The charges read, “That you, Damini Ogulu, and others now at large, on the 24th day of October, 2017, around 11.20hrs (11.20am), at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit; accessory after the fact, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.
“That you, Damini Ogulu, and others now at large, on the same date, time and place, in the aforementioned magisterial district, did have information about the attack on one Abiye Jumbo, aka Mr.2kay, at Room 847 of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, and did not disclose the said attack information to the security agent (sic), thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 415 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.”
His counsel, Bright Idahosa, prayed the court that he be granted bail in liberal terms.
While the police prosecutor, Inspector N. Peter, welcomed the request, a lawyer, Dan Whisky, who held brief for Grafton Entertainment, the promoter of Mr. 2kay, expressed reservation about the bail application, saying the sister case, involving the other remanded accomplices would come up on December 29.
One Tayo Reju held a watching brief for Eko Hotel and Suites.
Osunsanmi granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties in like sum and adjourned the case till December 29.
However, as against the tradition of keeping defendants on the court premises pending when bail conditions would be perfected, Burna Boy was immediately taken away in the SUV by the police.