SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN writes on Nigerian entertainers who were once imprisoned in foreign countries.
Oluwatobiloba Daniel Anidugbe
Hardworking singer, Daniel Anidugbe, otherwise known as Kizz Daniel, earned the respect of music lovers for consistently unleashing chart-busting songs over the years. A few weeks ago, he wormed his way into the bad books of his fans in other parts of Africa when he failed to perform at a concert in Tanzania. The singer was scheduled to perform at Warehouse, Old Nextdoor Arena in Tanzania as part of his Afro Classic World Tour. He failed to show up for the show despite the fact that some fans paid as much as $5,000 for a table. It was rumoured that Kizz Daniel’s costume and a gold chain were missing after arriving in Tanzania. He was arrested by the police and detained at the Oyster Bay Police Station in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania after fans vandalised and disrupted the peace of the city. The singer might have built a good reputation over the years due to his talent and singing prowess, however, the recent drama in Tanzania almost cost him his years of hard work. He later revealed what transpired and stated that he waited for eight hours for a connecting flight to Dar es Salaam from Kampala. Even after he flew successfully to his destination, he was further delayed because of missing luggage. The father of two apologised to his Tanzanian fans and organised a free concert for them.
Stanley Omah Didia
Stanley Omah Didia, also known as Omah Lay, joined the league of entertainers who have been arrested abroad in December 2020. The singer was detained in Uganda during his sold-out show concert in Kampala. Being a year that the world was combating the deadly coronavirus, he was arrested and charged for negligence and engaging in acts likely to spread the infectious corona virus, according to Section 171 of the Penal Code of Uganda.
Music fans all over the world showed their support for the artiste by creating a hashtag, FreeOmahlay, which trended on Twitter for a long time. The Federal Government and some celebrities had to intervene in the matter and he was released.
Well-endowed singer, Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems, has been on the rise since she made her debut in the music industry. One would say that providence had played a role in her steady rise to stardom. She was crowned as the first female artiste to clinch the Black Entertainment Television Award, BET, and often featured in some works by some of the best performing artistes in Nigeria and abroad. Her achievement however did not come on a silver platter as she has made some sacrifices o get to the enviable position that she is occupying at the moment.
Tems was once arrested and detained in Kampala, Uganda for flouting COVID-19 protocols in that country. The singer had gone to perform at a concert in the December 2020. At the end of the show, she was arrested and charged. Just like it happened in Oma Lay’s case, her male counterpart when he was arrested in Uganda, her fans started a campaign for her release on Twitter. The Federal Government and some celebrities had to step in once more. Despite the slight disruption in her career, Tems has continued to focus on her goals and her popularity has continued to be on the rise.
Akinbiyi Abiola Ahmed
Talented music act, Akinbiyi Abiola Ahmed, professionally known as Bella Shmurda was arrested, charged and jailed in Ghana in 2021. The artiste, who dropped out of school to pursue his music career a few years ago, had travelled to Ghana at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. While observing the normal protocol of testing foreign citizens arriving in the country, Bella Shmurda tested positive for COVID-19 and was quarantined at the Mplaza Hotel in Accra, Ghana. During the period he was in isolation and receiving treatment, the Cash App hit maker created a scene by attacking the doctor in charge with a fork and attempted to beat up another person who tried to intervene. He alleged that the COVID-19 test conducted on him was fake. He also demanded to be released the following day. He was arrested and charged to Adjabeng Circuit Court in Accra for verbal abuse and physical assault on a medical officer. He was fined 2,000 Ghana Cedi and banned from entering the country for three months.
Babalola Falemi, fondly called Sinzu or Sauce Kid, stained his good reputation after being arrested in the United Kingdom for fraud. The entertainer was said to have stolen over 15 bank cards, encoded the bank numbers into blank cards, changed the pins and withdrew cash via Automated Teller Machines in 2014. He was arrested at the Boise Airport as he was about to board a plane
After he was arrested, the police found a card encoding device and more than $6,000 on him. He was charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, with eight counts each of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of several fraudulent bank cards. The singer was later jailed for two years at the Ada County Jail, a medium security prison attached to the Idaho Sheriff’s department. Despite the fact that the Nigerian singer rose to fame with some of his hit singles, Yebariba Samboribobo and Omoge, his Mike Okri assisted debut single, his imprisonment sank the ship of his musical career as he lost relevance in the Nigeria music scene thereafter.
Ebunoluwa Damini Ogulu
Grammy Award winning artiste and self-acclaimed Africa giant, Ebunoluwa Damini Ogulu, more popularly known as Burna Boy had a criminal record abroad before he found fame in the Nigeria music industry. Burna Boy was part of a criminal gang who stabbed a man to death in 2010 in the United Kingdom though he committed the act when he was a minor. The singer was arrested and charged to court as a minor. He was later tried and sent to jail. After serving a jail term of 11 months, he was released but put on two months parole with community service on the grounds of being of good behavior. However, the dancehall singer disobeyed police authorities and ran to Nigeria where he established his music career and signed a record deal with Aristocrat Records. His attempt at returning to the UK led to his deportation to Nigeria and subsequent ban from entering the UK for a period of 15 years. However, the ban was lifted after five years and he returned to the UK in 2016 where he had his first performance.
Nedu Godwin Nyan
Rapper Nedu Godwin Nyan, also known as Godwon, had it rough while still active in the Nigeria music industry. He was arrested in the United States in 2009 for burglary.
The rapper allegedly burgled a house in the United States and stole some items which were later recovered in his car. His arrest was filed by LeaAnne Klentzman for burglary.
Godwon was charged to court and found guilty. He served a three-year jail term at Fort Bend County. He regained his freedom in 2011 and returned to Nigeria to continue his music career. He signed a record deal with Serengeti Music and released some songs which were not well received by music fans. He faded out of the entertainment scene after his unsuccessful attempt at resuscitating his music career. Apparently, his imprisonment affected his image and music career.
Johnson Oyindamola became an ex-convict in 2017 after he was released on bail. The singer who is also known as Dammy Krane was arrested in Miami, United States in 2017. He was arrested at the Miami-Okpa Locka Executive Airport and faced seven counts of credit card fraud and one count of fraudulent identification possession. As at the time of his arrest, seven credit cards, with three bearing his name, four bearing William Payton III and none in which the numbers on the fronts of the cards matched the numbers on the embossed strips, were found in his possession. He was accused of fraudulently using a fake American Express card to buy a charter flight.
The singer was later jailed at the Miami Dade County Correctional Centre, but he was released after meeting his bail condition, set at $7,500. He also pleaded not guilty to the charges and demanded a trial by jury. In August 2017, the American Court struck out all the charges against him and he became a free man. However, he has not succeeded in resuscitating his music career since then.
Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba
Marlian record signee, Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, aka Mohbad, was also imprisoned abroad. The singer had earlier performed at a show in London with his fellow label record mate, Oniyide Azeez, also known as Zinoleesky. The event was a huge success and he headed to Cyrus for another show.
Unfortunately, he was arrested at the airport by the police and kept in the Cyrus Airport Prison. He made the revelation on his Instagram page and many couldn’t come to terms with the news. Mohbad alleged that his show promoter was responsible for what led to his arrest in Cyrus. He was later released and he returned to Nigeria, however, reasons for his arrest were not made public.
Ikechukwu Sunday Okonkwo
Reality show star, Ikechukwu Sunday Okonkwo aka Cross who was a housemate of the biggest reality show in Nigeria, Big Brother Naija season 6 was arrested after stepping foot in South Africa in 2022. The singer who was visiting the country for the first time didn’t know there was a curfew when he arrived. He was whisked away by the police force for violating the curfew. He had to lie to the police that he has a South African name, Siyabonga and was later released by the men of the law enforcement agency.
Azeez Adeshina Fashola
Boss of Marlian Record, Azeez Adeshina Fashola, otherwise known as Naira Marley, courts controversy like a second skin. The music act has been arrested several times both in Nigeria and abroad. He once made a revelation in 2019 after he was released by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for fraud and money laundering allegations. He made it known in a video that he had been arrested 124 times in the United States where he grew up and schooled.
Nigerian actress, film producer and director, Lola Oladipupo aka Lola Margaret was arrested in America for wire fraud. This was shortly after Dammy Krane was arrested and detained on similar charges. The Yoruba speaking actress had suspicious amounts of money wired into her bank account which she constantly withdrew thereby drawing the attention of detectives. The police took her in for further interrogations. It was only after her mugshot surfaced online that word got out that she was picked up for alleged card fraud by the Atlanta police. The actress has since returned to Nigeria and is back to doing what she knows how to do best, acting. Her presence in movies has however reduced quite unlike how she dominated the industry before her arrest.