In what can only be described as the dawn of a new era in Lagos state, those who have always committed petty crimes, going unpunished for same, will now have to be very careful after at least eight people, including four women, have been arraigned before an Apapa Magistrate court in Lagos, for allegedly drinking local gin (popularly known as Ogogoro) and smoking in an unacceptable manner in the public.
The accused persons are: Nkereuwen Akpan, 29, James Patricia, 39, Jenifer John, 27, Salami Kazeem, 37, Festus Opara, 35, Princess Pius, 26, Gold Johnson, 27 and John Idoh, 32.
They were charged on two counts of misdemeanour and unlawful assembly. The prosecutor, Sgt. Uche Kalu, told the court that on August 14 at 1:20 a.m at Kazuma roundabout, Apapa, the accused persons unlawfully gathered to smoke and drink the local gin in a manner to cause fear and panic in the neighbourhood. Kalu said the offence of the accused contravened Sections 409 and 44(1) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2011.
However, when the charge was read to the accused persons, they pleaded not guilty. Meanwhile, the Chief Magistrate, Mrs A. K. Shonubi, granted them bail in the sum of N20, 000 with one surety in the like sum each and adjourned the matter till September 17.