Let’s meet in court, Falz tells group threatening him
By BENJAMIN NJOKU & ROTIMI AGBANA
A human rights activist and renowned lawyer, Femi Falana(SAN) has dared the Muslims Rights Concern, MURIC, to sue his rapper son,Folarin Falana popularly known as Falz to court if they are aggrieved by his trending “This is Nigeria” video.
It would be recalled that the group during the week released a statement ordering Falz to take down “This is Nigeria” video which, according to them, ridicules their religion because some girls were seen in the footage wearing hijab and dancing shaku shaku. They also threatened to take a legal action against the rapper after the expiration of the ultimatum given to him.
But reacting to the threat in a telephone chat with Entertainment Plus, the renowned lawyer said in as much as freedom of speech is constitutionally guaranteed in the country, nobody has the right to threaten another person.
According to him, the video in question contains a lot of messages and desired to be encouraged by anybody who has the interest of this country at heart.
Speaking further, Falana said he has confirmed that his son, who’s also a lawyer by profession is handling the threat within the ambit of the law.
“My son is a lawyer and I have confirmed that he’s handling the threat within the ambit of the law. The video in question contains a lot of messages and it should be encouraged by anybody who has the interest of our country at heart.”
“Since the group has threatened to sue him or threatening to sue him. My son has promised that he would meet them in court. I support that decision. We all belong to this country, nobody can threaten another person. Freedom of speech is constitutionally guaranteed. If you are aggrieved as a result of any publication or record, the appropriate thing for you to do is to go to court. I’d hope that they will go to court at the expiration of the ultimatum given to my son,” said the renowned lawyer.
Also, reacting to the threat in an Instagram post, popular comedian cum singer, Helen Paul said “I am an actor that uses costumes to depict a character. Hijab is a head covering, it’s not a religion. Islam is a religion of peace and not of war. Peace, love. Can’t fight for God, just be happy, hate not.”
Meanwhile, in a tweet through his management, Falz said the video won’t be taken down. They urged the group to head to court to address their grievances and that they were ready to meet them there.
According to the rapper, “The video has been very well received. Even initially when I was releasing it, I didn’t anticipate the magnitude of reaction… I thought there will be some form of reaction and conversation but I didn’t know how largely it will be received.
“It was important, first of all, I was inspired by the original, This is America by Childish Gambino, I thought it was a very artistic and creative way to tell the American story and I thought it will be amazing to tell the Nigerian story in a similar fashion. It was very important to stir up a heightened level of political and social consciousness out here,” Falz said.
However, since the video was released, the rapper has received accolades as well as knocks in some quarters for tackling social ills in a country where pop stars rarely criticize the system.
The group has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Falz, ordering him to withdraw the video and apologise to Nigerians or face legal action. It also urged security agencies and the National Film And Video Censors Board,NFVCB, to clamp down on the video. In a statement by MURIC signed by its director, Ishaq Akintola, the group said it is offended that some girls dressed in hijab were dancing ‘shaku shaku’ in the music video. It also described the video as thoughtless, insensitive and highly provocative and intended to denigrate Islam and Muslims.