COVID-19: Magistrate”s elevation stalls trial of Archbishop ‘Jehova Sharp-Sharp’ 

The scheduled trial of Archbishop Samson Mustapha Benjamin of Resurrection Praise Chapel, popularly called Jehovah Sharp-Sharp, and two others, who were arraigned for alleged violation of the lockdown and Stay at Home directive of President Muhammad Buhari, amid the Corona Virus Pandemic, before an Igbosere Chief Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, today, suffered set back, due to elevation of the presiding Chief Magistrate as a High Court Judge.

At the resumed hearing of the matter today, the court’s Registrar informed counsels that the Chief Magistrate had been elevated to as a High Court Judge and will no longer be able to preside over matters before her.

The development made parties to ask for another date when the matter would have be reassigned to another Magistrate.

Consequently, at the agreement of the parties the matter was adjouned till July 1, 2020, for the commencement of the Bishop and others trial.

Lagos State Police Command had arraigned the cleric alongside Jerry Abel and Johnson Benjamin, before an Igbosere Chief Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, presided over by Chief Magistrate Olufolake Oshin (now judge-designated) on a three count charge of conspiracy,    breach the cessation of movement and stay at home order made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and conduct likely to breach public peace

The offences according to the police are contrary to Regulations 1(1)(2) of Covid-19 Regulations 2020 and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 5 Quarantine Act. Cap. Q2 Vol. 14, law of the federation of Nigeria, 2004,  section 168(1)(2) and offence punishable under section 122 of Criminal law Cap. C17, Vol 3, laws of the Lagos State 2015. 

It is also punishable under sections 112 and 168(2) of Criminal Law CAP C17 Vol. 3, Law of Lagos State, 2015

And all the defendants pleaded not guilty as charged.

Subsequently, Chief Magistrate Olufolake Oshin admitted Archbishop Samson to bail in the sum of N1 million, while admitted the other two violators to bail in the sum of N500,000 each. 

The defendants claimed that they were arrested by the police at the Chinese Embassy, Victoria Island, where they had gone to protest alleged ill-treatment melted on Nigerians in China.

The archbishop in full regalia at the court, during his appearance in court

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