Wednesday, October 30,2019
Nigerian musician David Adeleke carried out his threat to ensure the arrest of two Nigerian women who accused him last week of impregnating and abandoning one of them.
The two women appeared in a viral video that circulated on social media last week. The duo, Susan and Helen, claimed Mr Adeleke (a.k.a. Davido) abandoned one of them after her pregnancy and declined further communications and responsibility for the purported pregnancy.
Mr Adeleke denied having anything to do with the women on his social media accounts and threatened to get them arrested and locked up.
He threatened to sue them for N30 billion which they would have to produce while locked up at the maximum security prisons in Kirikiri.
He also placed a N1 million bounty on the women, asking his followers to go after them and ensure that they get taught a lesson.
The women subsequently posted two videos apologising to Mr Adeleke and claiming that none of them was impregnated by him.
Mr Adeleke, who welcomed another child with his new wife recently, did not acknowledge the women’s apologies. Many of his fans urged him to forgive the ladies, while others said he should follow through on the matter and use them as scape goats.
On Tuesday afternoon, a video showing Susan and Helen in handcuffs surfaced on social media. The footage was taken at the ladies’ apartment in Lagos, and it showed them being threatened by a man whose voice was in the background.
It was unclear whether the voice of the man heard threatening the women was that of a police officer or a private individual. The video was first posted on Instagram by ‘Special Spesh’, an associate of Mr Adeleke’s.
Following a barrage of attacks against Mr Adeleke, he posted a tweet calling the women ‘idiots’ and asking that they be released. Many of his fans praised him for his benevolence.
But it remained unclear who actually arrested the women.
The arrest was carried out in Lagos on Tuesday afternoon, according to one of Mr Adeleke’s associates who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday night.
The associate, who identified himself as ‘Creative Yute’, said the women have since been released, and absolved his principal of any involvement because he was “not in the country.”
But the police in Lagos said they did not know about the arrest and suggested that Mr Adeleke might have taken the laws into his hands.
“We have no official records of the arrest in our command,” Lagos police spokesperson Bala Elkanah, told PREMIUM TIMES. “It could be a case of some people taking the laws into their hands.”
Mr Adeleke had police officers attached to him, and so do some members of his family. It was unclear whether the handcuffs that were used to apprehended Helen and Susan were from the artiste’s security detail.
Even though the women have been released, their arrests highlight the continued use of state agents as a tool of oppression by the powerful, especially coming after Mr Adeleke’s threat.
The Nigerian Constitution guarantees rights to free speech, but there are also statutes that address defamation of character.
Rights advocates who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES about the arrest said Mr Adeleke had no powers beyond filing defamation lawsuit against the women.
“He can decline the women’s apologies and sue them to court for defamation of character,” said activist Haruna Maiwurno. “He cannot use the police to go after other private citizens for defamation.”
“It is a clear case of abuse of power for which Nigerian law enforcement agencies must investigate and properly prosecute Davido,” the activist added.
Several commentators on social media said it was unfortunate that Mr Adeleke would unleash terror on two women for allegedly defaming him at a time citizens are condemning federal authorities for arresting journalists and bloggers over articles critical of persons in power.
A PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation in October 2017 found that private individuals with financial influence regularly unleash state agents on citizens to avenge alleged defamation of their person on the Internet.