Nigerian singer, Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems, has opened up about her time in a Ugandan prison where she was detained for participating in an unauthorised concert.
During an interview with Angie Martinez on Power 105.1 FM in New York, Tems shared the emotional reasons that brought her to tears behind bars.
In December 2020, the singer, alongside Omah Lay, was apprehended by Ugandan authorities for their participation in an event held at Ddungu Resort in Munyonyo, Kampala City.
The charges against them centred on their alleged violation of COVID-19 protocols in Uganda.
After outrage from Nigerians on social media, both artists were eventually released from detention.
Recounting her experience, Tems said she cried “because they gave me my uniform and it stunk because they do not wash it”.
She recalled sitting on the floor, forming bonds with fellow women and children who were incarcerated alongside her.
The songstress, however, maintained that she and Omah Lay were not guilty of flouting COVID-19 rules, adding that the entire situation may have been a “setup.”
She said, “We did not 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 was not on lockdown. It was the aftermath.
“And the organisers said they had the permit, they sent us the permit. Everything was cool. But there was this particular artiste. I am not sure now what his role was but he was just busy threatening Nigerian artistes that they should not come. And after the show, the police came. They were not 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?
“I spent two nights in prison. I thought I was not gonna come out. I thought maybe I was going through it for a reason. 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 adapted real quick and as I was walking in I started to cry because they gave me my uniform and it stunk because they do not wash it.
“Once I walked in everyone turned and looked at me and whispered and I was like ‘what have I done? I cannot cry’ and I just started winking, that was my way of adapting. I must show these people that I am confident so I started being extra winking and saying hi and they were laughing”.
“I spent like two nights in jail”
Tems saw hell in Uganda. pic.twitter.com/i2BF7yDmGN