Nigerian artists Tems and Omah Lay have been charged by Ugandan authorities following their recent arrest in the country. The charges are for reportedly violating COVID-19 regulations at a music event.
Nigerian artists Omah Lay and Tems have reportedly been charged with allegedly violating COVID-19 regulations in Uganda, according to the BBC. Ugandan authorities have communicated that the official charges levelled against Tems and Omah Lay are for "Negligently doing acts likely to spread an infectious diseases C/S 171 of the Penal Code Act." The artists' recent arrests follows shortly after they performed at a sold-out music event this past Saturday.
A number of local Ugandan artists have also added their voices to the matter but not by expressing sympathy towards the Nigerian artists. They instead feel slighted seeing as this particular concert was the first music event to take place in the country since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed by President Yoweri Museveni earlier this year. The number of COVID-19 cases in Uganda currently stand at just over 27 000 with a least 224 reported deaths.
Prominent Ugandan rapper, Gravity Omutujju, had the following to say:
''Because a foreigner to perform in Uganda, he must get a work permit meaning the government was involved. In all honesty and fairness, how can you allow this concert to happen when you really know that you stopped your own artistes to perform, closed all happening places in a disguise of protecting the masses from catching Covid-19."
Off the heels of his arrest, Omah Lay took to social media to express how he felt as if here were being "set up" although he did not state by whom.
I’m just a singer trying to entertain, why am I being set up in Uganda?— Omah Lay (@Omah Lay)1607952699.0
Tems has not been visibly active on social media following her arrest with her last post having been a video of the concert.
Uganda! Thank you so much! Rebel gang worldwide! 🇺🇬🖤 https://t.co/AGZGvNRPx2— TEMS (@TEMS)1607796217.0
No further details have been shared as to what will now happen to the artists and what they have may been advised to do from a legal perspective.
Nigerian artists including Burna Boy, Laycon, Teni, Rema, Fireboy DML and several others, have all called on both Tems and Omah Lay to be released by Ugandan authorities.
Free Omah lay, Free Tems. Uganda y’all breaking my heart on God 💔. Nigerian government SPEAK!— REMA (@REMA)1607958920.0
They should not be treated like this! @PoliceUg ?! they were invited for a show organised by your citizens, granted… https://t.co/mLcjnLjIkc— Burna Boy (@Burna Boy)1607975510.0
what is going on? @PoliceUg why are Omah Lay and Tems being mistreated?! #FreeOmahLay #FreeTems everyone please… https://t.co/AwK0goSQDd— Fireboy DML (@Fireboy DML)1607953390.0