Uganda releases jailed Nigerian musicians, co-accused Ugandans still battling charges

Ugandan government has buckled under pressure and released the recently arrested Nigerian musicians

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Government of Uganda has buckled under pressure and has withdrawn criminal charges against two Nigerian musicians and their manager barely a day after remanding them to prison. 

The Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP], Jane Frances Abodo discontinued the charges against Temilade Openiyi aka Tems, Stanley Omah Didia popularly known as Omah Lay and their manager; Muyiwa Awoniyia.

The trio on Monday 14, December 2020, appeared before the Makindye Grade One magistrate, Jude Okumu Muwone on charges of doing an act likely to spread an infectious disease when they staged a concert at Ddungu Resort on December 12. The concert was in violation of the ban on social gatherings imposed by President Yoweri Museveni to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The trio was jointly charged with four Ugandans namely; Salim Kim and Benjamin Kabuura, the organizers of the concert, Phillip Kasakya, the coordinator of security at the event and Ivan Ddungu, the proprietor of Ddungu Resort where the music concert took place.  

Nigerian singer Omah Lay
Nigerian singer Omah Lay takes a selfie with fans during December 12th, 2020 concert in Kampala, Uganda.

However, on Tuesday 15, December 2020, the DPP wrote to the magistrate withdrawing the charges against the Nigerian nationals without giving any reason for the decision.

Read Also: Nigerian singer Omah Lay arrested in Uganda for flouting COVID-19 guidelines

Left without any option, court ordered the prison authorities to release the Nigerians who were remanded to Kitalya and Kigo government prisons but their Ugandan co-accused are still battling the charges.

Uganda Prisons spokesperson, Frank Baine confirmed the release of the Nigerians. A source privy to the matter told this publication on condition of anonymity that a Nigerian diplomat successfully negotiated the release of the artists.