Nigerian musician Seun Kuti, son of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, was arrested on Monday for allegedly assaulting a police officer.
A video that surfaced on social media over the weekend shows Kuti confronting an unarmed police officer on a busy highway in Lagos. In the video, Kuti can be seen yelling at the officer and pushing him away. He also seems to hit the cop at one point.
The Lagos State Police Command said in a statement that Kuti was arrested after an arrest warrant was issued. He was taken to the police headquarters in Ikeja, where he was questioned by detectives.
Kuti has denied the allegations against him and said he defended himself against the officer, who he said tried to ram his car. He has also said he was unaware that the officer was a police officer at the time of the incident.
Kuti is due to appear in court on Tuesday. He could face up to three years in prison if convicted of assaulting a police officer.
Kuti’s arrest has sparked outrage among many Nigerians, who have accused the police of intimidation and brutality. Kuti is an outspoken critic of the Nigerian government and a longtime human rights advocate. His arrest is seen by many as an attempt to silence his criticism.
The Nigerian police are under fire for their handling of the #EndSARS protests, which took place in October 2020. The protests were provoked by the killing of a young man by a police officer. The protests quickly turned into a nationwide movement against police brutality.
The Nigerian government eventually disbanded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a police unit notorious for its brutality. However, many Nigerians feel that the police have not done enough to reform themselves.
Seun’s brother, musician Femi Kuti, has issued a statement that the entire Kuti family is firmly behind Seun, and that he is receiving legal assistance from the Kuti family’s team of lawyers.
Many fellow musicians now show their support for Seun Kuti through posts on social media
The arrest of Seun Kuti is a reminder of the challenges Nigeria faces in its fight against police brutality. It is also a reminder of the importance of free speech and the right to criticize the government.