Nigerian musicians just like the rest of us, have a run in with the law,which leads to their arrest and detention either in police custody or in extreme cases prison.
Several Nigerian stars have encountered legal issues and In spite of their stardom, all of them have had to take responsibility for their conduct. In this piece LEADERSHIP Sunday takes a look at 8 Nigerian musicians who were arrested and detained.
- Burna Boy
In 2010 Burna Boy was arrested for a gang related stabbing in the UK. He pled not guilty, but he went to jail, he was released after 11 months on parole for his good behavior while in prison.
The self acclaimed African Giant fled the UK and came back to Nigerian to start his music career before his parole was over in the UK.
2 . Sinzu
Sinzu, formerly known as Sauce Kid was arrested in the United States in 2017, while he was about to board a flight for stealing over $15,000 through bank card fraud.
He was with a cash of $6000 dollars and a device used to program bank cards. He was jailed for 2 years. After he was released, he posted a tweet saying that he did the crime and did the time.
- Naira Marley
Naira Marley, along with other individuals, were arrested by the EFCC on May 10, 2019, in relation to suspected online scamming and money laundering activities. Although the other detainees were freed five days later, Naira Marley was kept in detention due to suspicious materials discovered on his computer. He faced 11 accusations and was confined to Ikoyi Prison for several days before being granted bail. The bail terms required him to provide two sureties, who each had to guarantee a sum of 2 million naira.
In December 2020, Tems got into trouble when she was arrested in Kampala, Uganda. As per reports, she was taken into custody for disregarding COVID-19 protocols. Tems had participated in a concert that had been criticized for violating the COVID-19 restrictions enforced at that time.
The Ugandan law enforcement authorities labeled the offenders as self-centered persons. They said that they were “determined to breach the instructions regarding COVID-19. This was with the intent of making a profit while jeopardizing the lives of numerous Ugandans.” Consequently, Tems and her manager were held in police custody for two days before being freed. Thereafter, they returned to Nigeria on December 17, 2020. In reaction to the incident, Tems issued a statement expressing her sorrow. She stated that the attendees might have been potentially exposed to COVID-19.
- Omah Lay
Similar to Tems, Omah Lay was also arrested in the Uganda In December 2020, when he and Tems went to Uganda to perform at a concert. This was anticipated to be a night of entertainment and music for their fans.Regrettably, the situation turned into a nightmare when the Ugandan authorities arrested both performers for allegedly violating the COVID-19 regulations.
Omah Lay took to social media to express his displeasure with the turn of events. He revealed that he was treated “like an ordinary thief.” The artist stated that the preceding few days had been among the most arduous of his life.The Nigerian administration played a part in securing the release of both Omah Lay and Tems, who were detained for two days in police custody before being freed and returning to Nigeria.
Popular Nigerian musician, D’Banj in December 2022,was arrested and detained by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC).
The music star was detained after ICPC operatives closed in on him, forcing him to surrender himself at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, over charges of fraud.
D’Banj was accused of fraudulently diverting hundreds of millions of naira earmarked by the Nigerian government for N-Power project, an empowerment programme set up by the Nigerian government in 2016 to address youth unemployment and increase social development.
Reports said that D’banj was a Brand Ambassador for the ministry. It was alleged that the singer colluded with some government officials to introduce ghost beneficiaries into the payroll of the scheme. The stipend paid to those beneficiaries were then paid to accounts that have now allegedly been linked to the pop star.
On Friday, March 31, 2023, Portable was arrested by the operatives of the Ogun Police Command after failing to surrender himself despite being given an ultimatum.
The artist was caught on camera using abusive language at police officers who visited his bar in the Sanga Ota district of Ogun State to detain him. He declined to cooperate with the officers, stating that he was a baboon and could not be apprehended.Portable was arraigned on five charges by the Ogun Police Command, which included assault, disorderly conduct, and theft of musical equipment. He was accused of pilfering musical devices.
On Monday, April 3, 2023, the magistrate presiding in Ifo town, Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State, granted Portable bail after he was held in the Ilaro Correctional Centre to fulfill his bail conditions.
The Zazoo crooner was reported to the police by his former apprentice. The artist claimed that he reprimanded the apprentice for refusing to reform and fired him.
According to Portable, the former worker went to the police station and lodged an assault complaint against him for simply correcting him. He defended his actions by stating that he was the apprentice’s boss and that he disciplined him by beating him.
- Seun Kuti
In May 2023,the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, ordered the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command to arrest Afrobeat singer, Seun Kuti, after he was captured on video assaulting a police officer in uniform.
A Lagos State Magistrate’s Court sitting in Yaba, remanded the Afrobeat singer, in police custody for 48 hours to enable the police to conclude its investigation into an allegation of assault brought against him.
Magistrate Adeola Olatunbosun, who presided over the matter, also ordered the police to release the musician after the stipulated period on bail and also send the case file to the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), so that legal advice can be issued.