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‘I Spent Two Nights In Jail,’ Tems Recounts Her Ordeal In Uganda

In December 2020, both Tems and fellow Nigerian singer, Omah Lay, were apprehended, charged and subsequently imprisoned in Uganda.


Tems
A file photo of Tems. (Photo: Vogue)

 

Grammy-winning Nigerian singer Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems, has shared her harrowing experience in a Ugandan prison in 2020.

“I spent two nights in prison. I thought I wasn’t gonna come out. I thought maybe I was going through it for a reason,” Tems said in a recent interview with Angie Martinez of Power 105.1 FM, New York.

“I was like maybe this is for me to help the people in prison. It was crazy, I ain’t gonna lie. I was settling in because I adapt real quick.”

In December 2020, both Tems and fellow Nigerian singer, Omah Lay, were apprehended, charged and subsequently imprisoned in Uganda.

READ ALSO: Tems, Omah Lay Released

Their arrests stemmed from their participation in a concert held at Speke Resort in Kampala on December 12, 2020, which was allegedly in violation of COVID-19 social distancing regulations in place at the time.

However, speaking with Martinez, Tems insisted that they didn’t break COVID-19 rules, claiming that “it was a setup.

The Oscar-nominated singer expressed that during her time in jail, she genuinely believed that she might not make it out, and she had mentally prepared herself for the possibility of a prolonged stay.

Tems said, “We didn’t break the [COVID-19] rules. It was basically like a set up. We went to Uganda, I had a show there. It was during COVID year but they had opened things up that time. They had just had a rally in Uganda. People were going out. It wasn’t on lockdown. It was the aftermath.

“And the organisers said they had the permit, they sent us the permit. Everything was cool. And we went there and there is this particular artist, I’m not sure now what his role was, but he was just busy threatening Nigerian artists that they shouldn’t come. And after the show, the police came. They weren’t in uniforms.

“They just knocked on my hotel room. My manager and I were eating lunch or dinner. And they just came and said we should follow them and my manager was like he would go with them.

“So, he went with them. But they came back upstairs to pick me up. So, it was like who called them? Later, I found out that there was something weird. That was so scary,” Tems narrated.