World music legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was charged with a
number of drug offenses on Wednesday (April 16) in relation to an arrest last
week at his nightclub, The Shrine. Nigeria's anti-narcotics agency, the
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), charged Kuti with alleged
possession, conspiracy and use of illicit drugs, charges that could land the
singer in jail for 15 years if he is convicted on all counts, according to a
Reuters report. The 58-year-old musician was arrested along with 107
others at The Shrine for alleged possession of marijuana.
arrest, Kuti filed a suit in a Lagos court seeking $11,765 in damages from
NDLEA for alleged violation of his human rights. Kuti, a frequent critic of the
Nigerian government and avowed marijuana user, was held by the NDLEA in
February of 1996 on drug charges and was imprisoned for 18 months in the
mid-80's for allegedly smuggling foreign exchange, a term that was cut short
when it was disclosed that the judge in the case had been under pressure for a
conviction from the then-military government.