Nigerians singers Omah Lay and Tems nabbed by police in Uganda for allegedly breaking COVID-19 restrictions
“Nigerian Artist Stanley Omah Didia, aka Omah Lay, was arrested by katwe police, long with the manager of the venue, Dungu Ivan and the Events manager Prim Kasana
Katwe police spokesperson, Owoyesigyire confirmed that a second Nigerian musician, Temilade Openiyi, aka Tems, was also arrested along with her manager, Muyiwa Awomiyi
The Nigerian music stars, were arrested in Uganda shortly after performing at a concert, on Saturday
The musicians were arrested following an outcry by Ugandan artistes who called out the police in their country for allowing foreign artistes hold events while the locals are denied, according to reports on social media
Nigerian music stars, Stanley Omah Didia aka Omah Lay and Temilade Openiyi professionally known as Tems, have been arrested in Uganda hours shortly after a concert.
The news of their arrest was made public by an assistant superintendent of police in the country identified as Owoyesigyire (@lukowoyesigyire) on social media, on Sunday, December 13.
The pair along with the concert organizers were accused of indulging in “acts that are likely to cause the spread of infectious disease Covid-19.”
The profile of Nigerian singer Omah Lay has been fast rising in recent times with international recognition for his brilliant work in the past few months.
The artist was honored as BET International’s artiste of the month of November 2020.
Omah Lay is currently a big hit across the African continent for his songs Lo Lo, Damn, Infinity, Bad Influence, My Bebe among others.
Tems who was also arrested after her performance at the music festival is regarded as one of the best new artistes out of Nigeria. Her current trending tracks include Damages, Try Me, and Mr Rebel.
In an Instagram post the police spokesperson said: “Nigerian Artist Omah lay has been arrested by Katwe police, the manager of the venue one Dungu Ivan and the Events manager Prim Kasana are also in custody.”
In ahis next post Owoyesigyire confirmed that Tems and her manager, Muyiwa Awomiyi, were also arrested.
According to Asst. police Supt. Owoyesigyire, the managers of the venue where the concert was held have also been arrested by the police.
Although the officer did not reveal full details about their arrests, reports on social media claim that the musicians were arrested following an outcry by Ugandan artistes who called out the police in their country allowing foreign artistes hold events while the locals are denied.
According to the poster for the event, Nigerian singers Omah Lay and Tems are scheduled to perform at an event dubbed The Big Brunch [Afrobeats Edition], on 12th December 2020.
As the buildup to the event gained momentum with influencers on Twitter and other genuine fans creating buzz around it, so was a groundswell of local artistes in Uganda who felt slighted after not getting billings.
Chief among them was reggae singer, Bebe Cool, who called for the promoter of the event to cancel it in a post on his official Facebook page. The post wase later deleted
In the post Bebe Cool expressed concern that while Ugandan artistes have not performed at concerts since March in respect to the set Ministry of Health guidelines against the spread of COVID-19, he found it insane for foreign artistes to come to Uganda.
He went on to note that several local artistes in the country were bleeding financially, yet the government has not supported them with compensation despite adhering to the strict guidelines that were placed.
This is not first time the singer is courting controversy in Uganda. Recently Bebe Cool who is a supporter of Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni and the ruling NRM party, pledged to fight fellow artistes who refused to pay their allegiance to the president.
It will be recalled that this past March, thousands of revelers hurled water bottles and other missiles at Bebe Cool as he got on stage to perform at a concert.
As Bebe Cool , got on stage, the crowd demanded that he gets off, while other irate fans sent him missiles of bottles, allegedly full of urine.
There was bedlam after the artiste refused to leave the stage. Ultimately he had to be whisked away as the crowd continued to pelt the stage with bottles and other objects.
Sunday’s arrest has created a media maelstrom between Uganda and Nigeria.
Reacting to the news of the arrest, a Ugandan online commentator wrote: “I am proud of you. I have been depressed and extremely discouraged by this event. How it went unnoticed is another thing our Intelligence services must look into.
“In everything we do, we must have moral decency in it. I support NRM & Mr Museveni 100% and will defend him always.”
Another Ugandan poster said the Nigerian singers should not have been arrested.
He tweeted: “Do not touch the artist. Arrest: 1. The promoter 2. Immigration officers who permitted him entry knowing his purpose of visit 3. Police officers who permitted personnel to provide security 4. Owner of the premises most were warned @BebeCoolUG etc. and security didn’t mind.”
Also reacting to the news, some Nigerian citizens called for the release of the music superstars. @calebokechukwu tweeted: @yr_favourite_ada also called for the release of the singers.
The Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, suspended music concerts and that directive still stands, The Independent reported.
Uganda’s Ministry of Health on Sunday reported 461 new confirmed coronavirus cases, taking the total number of cases in the country to 27,532.