The federal government through the chairman Nigerians in Diaspora commission (NIDCOM) Abike Dabiri Erewa has said that Omah Lay and Tems cannot be blamed for thei arrest in Uganda.
Dabiri stated that the Nigerian musicians, Temilade Openiyi, (Tems) and Stanley Omah Didia (Omah Lay) cannot be blamed for their experience in Uganda.
Dabiri Erewa said this on Friday in an interview with channels Television in Abuja.
“Some people said they committed a crime. In this case, I am sure if they had known, they would not have gone,” she said.
“Ignorance is not an excuse, they listened to the organisers. I don’t think we can blame them for what happened.”
According to Abike, the release of the artistes followed diplomatic engagements between the Nigerian government and the Ugandan authorities.
However, Dabiri Erewa explained that when the Federal Government learnt of the arrest, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, contacted his counterpart in Uganda to hasten their release.
Presidency Also Involved In The Release of Omah and Tems
The President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was also involved in the release of the musicians.
The presidency got in touch with the Uganda High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nelson Ocheger, who she said was not in the country at the time of their arrest.
However, Dabiri advised that to guard against recurrence of such incident, stars and other citizens should always notify the Nigerian Embassy of their presence abroad when in any country.
Abike Dabiri said that the move is necessary because if the two artistes had registered their presence in the Nigerian High Commission in Uganda, they wouldn’t have been in trouble.
“Anybody that travels abroad, have faith in the mission. If the Nigerian mission had known that two of our biggest artistes were in town and they just made their presence known, maybe that would not have happened.
“Anytime you travel, especially there are super stars. Let the mission know that you are there. We get the response that, ‘oh they don’t listen to us.’ But let them know,” she added.
Her remarks come three days after the Ugandan authorities dropped the charges against the popular musicians, after spending three days in detention.
Omah Lay and Tems were arrested on December 12 and charged before a Chief Magistrates Court in Makindye for breaching the country’s COVID-19 guidelines.
The fast-rising stars were arrested on Monday after performing at a show and flouting COVID-19 guidelines.
Thereafter, they were arraigned at a court in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.