Nigeria: Nollywood star arrested for breaching coronavirus rules

Funke Akindele was arrested for throwing a birthday party during the lockdown in Lagos, police say.

A popular Nigerian actress was arrested for throwing a birthday party during a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country’s financial capital, Lagos.

Funke Akindele, a Nollywood film star popularly known as Jenifa, was accused of hosting guests at the bash for her husband in their upscale residence in Lekki on Saturday.

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“Funke Akindele and her husband are in custody for holding a party in defiance of government directive against large gatherings of people,” Lagos state police spokesman Bala Elkana said on Monday. “We are taking the couple to a magistrate court in this morning.”

If convicted, the couple faces one month in prison, a fine of 100,000 naira ($260), or both.

Other alleged guests at the party, including well-known singer Naira Marley, have been told to report to the police criminal investigation department for questioning, Elkana said.

Akindele’s actions sparked angry reaction online from her fans after she earlier appeared in advertisements calling on Nigerians to observe social-distancing measures. 

The actress tendered an apology on her Instagram page on Sunday. 

“I am sorry if I have misled you. I appreciate your concerns and I promise to always practice what I preach,” she said. “I promise to always support the government in creating more awareness to eradicate this pandemic.”

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