LAGOS: A popular Nigerian actress was on Monday found guilty of breaking coronavirus lockdown restrictions in economic hub Lagos by throwing a birthday party, police said.
Funke Akindele, a Nollywood film star popularly known as Jenifa, was arrested and pleaded guilty to hosting the bash for her husband and show business pals at their upscale residence on Saturday.
“The court found them guilty as charged,” police spokesman Bala Elkana said in a statement.
The statement said the couple were each sentenced to 14 days of community service and ordered to pay a fine of 100,000 naira ($260/240 euros).
Elkana said they would also have to visit 10 “important public places” within the city of 20 million people to educate the public on the consequences of non-compliance with the restriction order.
He said well-known singer Naira Marley, who also attended the party, had been arrested and would soon be charged.
Akindele was in addition ordered to identify other guests for possible police action.
The party sparked angry reactions from Akindele’s 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.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2020