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Nigerian actress arrested over party during virus lockdown

April 6, 2020 05:25 PM


A popular Nigerian actress has been arrested for throwing a birthday party during a lockdown in economic hub Lagos to curb the spread of coronavirus, police said on Monday.

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

"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 told AFP. "We are taking the couple to a magistrate court in this morning," he said.

If convicted the couple faces one month in prison or a fine of 100,000 naira ($260 /240 euros) 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 reactions online from her fans after she had earlier appeared in adverts calling for 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."

There have so far been 232 confirmed infections and five deaths from the novel coronavirus in Africa's most populous nation. The authorities have introduced a raft of restrictions to curb the pandemic, including a two-week total lockdown in major cities Lagos and Abuja to tame the virus.

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