JUDGE INSISTS THAT NIGERIAN ACTRESS MUST STAY IN JAIL


A Nigerian judge has issued an arrest warrant for a “Nollywood” actress and former beauty queen who killed a man in a traffic accident.

Ibinabo Fiberesima had appealed against her five-year sentence but did not attend the hearing in Lagos.

Judge Deborah Oluwayemi told the court that Miss Fiberesima should be in jail while she files her appeal.

Justice Oluwayemi said Miss Fiberesima had tried to use her wealth and connections to avoid jail.

“There are so many innocent persons in prisons awaiting trial while a convicted person is allowed to work about freely,” Justice Oluwayemi was reported by local media as telling the court.

“We should not give Nigerians the impression that because someone is related to a ‘big man’ in the society then such individual can ignore court order.”

Miss Fiberesima’s lawyer said she was receiving medical treatment for typhoid in the southern city of Port Harcourt, and couldn’t attend the hearing.

“I indulged her throughout the proceedings as she did not appear in court. Fiberesima is entitled to appeal even to the Supreme Court but she must be at the proper place, that is the prison yard,” Justice Oluwayemi said.

She is a star of Nollywood – Nigeria’s thriving film industry, whose output is popular across West Africa.

Miss Fiberesima, a mother of two, was convicted of drunk and reckless driving in 2005 by a magistrate’s court.

The court found she had caused the death of Dr Giwa Suraj in a car crash on a highway in Lagos earlier that year.

But the magistrate said she had the option of paying a 100,000 naira ($678, £467) fine instead of going to jail.

The magistrate offered the fine because of Miss Fiberesima’s “demeanour before the court”, her lawyer told a previous court hearing.

The Lagos prosecutor appealed against the judgement and the High Court found her guilty of manslaughter, calling the fine “judicial recklessness”.

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