See List of Nigerian Celebrities That Has Been To Prison
Posted By: Victor
on March 31, 2019
8 Nigerian Celebrities Who Have Been To Prison
Prison is the least place anyone would imagine a celebrity to have been. With Nigerian celebrities, the common destination is always abroad but there have been an exception.
Few Nigerian Celebrities have been to prison over the years. Some of these celebrities are people you are familiar with, others are those you don’t really know and may not be aware they have ever been to prison.
These celebrities amongst whom are musicians and actresses have been sentenced for various reasons ranging from manslaughter, credit card theft, drug trafficking, burglary amongst other crimes.
Various crimes were committed by these celebrities both in the diaspora and in Nigeria. In each case, they were found wanting and had to face the law.
The law spelt out death by hanging for some and deportation for others. Some of these affected celebrities suffered setbacks in their careers due to the ex-convict status while others acquired some kind of fame and popularity.
Which of these Nigerian celebrities do you think was sentenced to death? What was his or her offence? Well, let’s get acquainted with these celebrities and why they went to prison.
8 Nigerian Celebrities Who Have Been To Prison
1. IBINABO FEBERESIMA
Ex-beauty queen and current National Director Miss Earth Nigeria Ibinabo Feberesima is a beautiful Nigerian actress and director. She is born to an Irish mother and a Nigerian father on 13th, January 1970. The actress who was the former president of Actors Guide Of Nigeria is one of the few Nigerian celebrities who have been to prison.
Fiberesima was arrested in 2006 and charged to court for manslaughter and reckless driving.The incident which led to her arrest happened on 26th, February 2016 while driving across lekki – Ekpe expressway. She lost control and collided with a vehicle on the inbound lane leading to the death of the driver Dr Suraj Giwa.
Certainly, the incident fostered the charges and in 2009, she was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison by Justice Deborah Oluwayemi of a Lagos State High court. She was granted bail after making an appeal but her appeal was dismissed on 11th, March 2016 and her five-year jail term upheld.
Furthermore, the actress spent 93 days in kirikiri prison before she was granted bail with the sum of 2 million Niara. During this period of time, she lost her position as the president of AGN ( Actors Guild Of Nigeria) and also developed lumps in her breast.
In series of Instagram post made by the actress on 27th, April 2017 she narrated her ordeal after been called out by a reporter named Azuka for wanting to contest as a local government chairman in Okrika Rivers State. In her explanation of the incident, she narrated thus :
” I was driving along Lekki road, returning home after picking up a friend’s daughter from a church Fellowship. Suddenly, a red car overtook the SUV in front of me. The SUV was travelling slowly, so I shifted to its front, too. The red vehicle was being driven by a young man and had his friends with him…I drove past the red car. I think that might have angered the young chap because he swiftly sped from behind, drove past me and made a sudden stop in my front.I tried to avoid hitting those boys in the red car. I swerved and lost control at that moment, the impact dived my vehicle into the inbound lane. Dr Giwa was inbound, thus he drove into my car and both cars collided. I collapsed and passed out. Three days later, I woke up in a hospital bed to learn what had happened. I was weak, sore and in pains. I could not move my legs. I had been sedated for three days. Doctors said they had to sedate me to numb my pain. Meanwhile, the police had been informed that I was in that hospital. The Lagos State Police came to the hospital to take my statement of what happened. After I gave them my statement, I was arrested at the hospital and charged to court.She went on to apologise to the reporter Azuka by saying “Azuka, I am very sorry Dr Suraj Giwa died in that accident. Please, Nigeria, forgive me. I am suffering. I have contemplated suicide several times. Azuka, I am not a killer. The accident was not intentional. I have gone into deep depression and didn’t care about living since it happened. I am not a murderer. And I was not drunk when the unfortunate accident happened.I am forever very sorry this accident happened. I never planned for it. I plead with the family. I reached out to the GO of the church where the late doctor’s wife worships to beg him to join me plead with her. He was on a crusade in Benue and I went and met with him. I am very sorry it happened. I am not arrogant or careless. I have just been wrongly represented and maligned in the media. The story has several versions that make me a heartless beautiful beast and monster. I have not said much because the family is bereaved. It hurts. I need to respect their sorrows and what they are going through: trying to explain myself, I thought, would sound arrogant. So I kept quiet. I have been sorry from the moment I learnt the accident took a dear life.”
See samples of the posts from her Instagram page belowView this post on Instagram
My dearest friends and followers, I greet you this blessed Friday. Most of you may have heard about my sad story of accident that caused the life of a beautiful and amazing human, Dr. Suraj Giwa. For 12 years, I have remained silent; internally mourning, grieving and praying that time would heal his family and mine. Through those years of my silence, stories were manufactured in the mainstream and social media about the accident. There were so many stories. My character was assassinated. I did not tell my story. Nobody heard from me, until now. Please take few moments to read the next posts as I share my story of what really happened and seek forgiveness, peace for both families. I finally got the courage to tell my story to Azuka Jebose. It was a burden lifted off my soul. As you read, please continue to pray for the soul of Late Giwa, his family and my family. Thank you for your supports and prayers. God bless you. May the soul of Dr. Suraj Giwa continue to be at peace. Amen
A post shared by Ibinabo Fiberesima (@ibinabofiberesima) on Apr 27, 2018 at 9:11am PDTView this post on Instagram
MY STORY DEAR NIGERIA, I AM SORRY.” “ Dear Azuka, I greet you. Thank you for allowing me to respond to your recent post here about my political ambition and the fatal accident of 2006. I need to tell my story. I stayed silent for so long and watched as my life, character and person were being ruined in published reports, including social media. This is my story, told for the first time on social media platform. My heart has never stopped aching. It will not. An accident took the life of someone. I am forever in mourning because of this. Two families’ lives have been changed forever with this unfortunate fatal accident. It was an accident. Dr. Suraj Giwa didn’t have to die. I wished I could bring him back. I am sorry for the pains caused. I have also been maligned and disparaged in the media: I am a monster. I am a killer and a murderer, I am a drunk… No. Azuka. I am none of these. I am just another human being that was in a deadly accident and the accident caused the death of Dr. Suraj Giwa.
A post shared by Ibinabo Fiberesima (@ibinabofiberesima) on Apr 27, 2018 at 9:12am PDTView this post on Instagram
It’s been 12 years of heartache, pain and depression for me. My eyes are rivers of tears. Some days I feel like killing myself. Life has no meaning to me. I think about Dr. Giwa every day. I pray for his soul and I pray and seek forgiveness from his family for the pain and agony. I am very sorry. It didn’t have to happen. I wished I knew it would happen that unfortunate day, I would not have travelled that road. I was not drunk that day. Azuka, I was driving along Lekki road, returning home after picking up a friend’s daughter from a church Fellowship. Suddenly, a red car overtook the SUV in front of me. The SUV was travelling slowly, so I shifted to its front, too. The red vehicle was being driven by a young man and had his friends with him…I drove past the red car. I think that might have angered the young chap because he swiftly sped from behind, drove past me and made a sudden stop in my front.
A post shared by Ibinabo Fiberesima (@ibinabofiberesima) on Apr 27, 2018 at 9:13am PDTView this post on Instagram
I tried to avoid hitting those boys in the red car. I swerved and lost control in that moment, the impact dived my vehicle into inbound lane.. Dr. Giwa was inbound, thus he drove into my car and both cars collided. I collapsed and passed out.. Three days later, I WOKE UP IN A HOSPITAL bed to learn what had happened. I was weak, sore and in pains. I could not move my legs. I had been sedated for three days. Doctors said they had to sedate me to numb my pain. Meanwhile, the police had been informed that I was in that hospital. The Lagos State Police came to the hospital to take my statement of what happened. After I gave them my statement, I was arrested at the hospital and charged to court. At my court appearance for hearing, the judge noticed how sick, weak, incoherent an disoriented I was: he also saw my injuries. He ordered that I should be sent back to the hospital for further treatment until I was well enough to stand trial. I could not walk then. Later at the hospital, I woke up from coma and to reality. I was afraid and shocked. I could not believe I was involved in an accident that had taken a life. I was like: Wow!..Someone died in that accident. Oh my God!. I didn’t know the family. While I was in the hospital my family contacted the family of Late dr. Giwa who died in the accident. My family was there for the funeral and did everything during the mourning season. I was afraid. But I met them in court and tried to approach them. I understood the anger and pain I had caused them, so I accepted their anger toward me….his sister was really angry at me… I wanted to talk to her… it was hard for me to get close to her… I understood all these: the pain and distress they felt as a result of the accident. I felt their pain. I wanted to tell them how sorry and remorseful I was… It was an accident. I did not intend to wake up that morning, went out and had a fatal collision. Weeks later, I was arraigned. I attended all my court appearances. During the process I visited the family and attempted several times to make peace. I never ignored them. I am always sorry. I know the pain is tough, so I understood their anger but I kept begging. I am sorry. I
A post shared by Ibinabo Fiberesima (@ibinabofiberesima) on Apr 27, 2018 at 9:16am PDTView this post on Instagram
I did not intend to wake up that morning, went out and had a fatal collision. Weeks later, I was arraigned. I attended all my court appearances. During the process I visited the family and attempted several times to make peace. I never ignored them. I am always sorry. I know the pain is tough, so I understood their anger but I kept begging. I am sorry. I had gone to so many good people and friends to assist me in pleading for forgiveness from the family. One of such friends is late Iyalode of Lagos. She assisted me in begging the Giwa family: when I became well and able to walk, she took me to The former Imam of Lagos and the Present Oba of Lagos: these traditional and religious leaders begged on my behalf, pleading with the family for forgiveness and showed how sorry and remorseful I was that the accident happened. I never ran away from the scene of the accident. I was unconscious. How could an unconscious accident victim remove plate license and registration papers from the vehicle as reported in the media? Why would I do a thing like that? How could I have done a thing like that?
A post shared by Ibinabo Fiberesima (@ibinabofiberesima) on Apr 27, 2018 at 9:24am PDTView this post on Instagram
I became a monster in the eyes of everyone. So I thought suicide was the best option to end all these and find peace for my family and Dr. Giwa’s family. I lost myself. I was no longer Ibinabo. I didn’t know who I was. I became a stranger to myself and my family, afraid of life and living, scarred by and scared of human beings. I withdrew and became clinically depressed.
A post shared by Ibinabo Fiberesima (@ibinabofiberesima) on Apr 27, 2018 at 9:44am PDTView this post on Instagram
I could not take care of my children. I was dying. Azuka, I was dying. Life had no meaning to me. I became a lonely zombie: a mother that could not care for her children, distressed, disturbed and severely depressed. I was sent to Kirikiri female Prison. I wanted to die there. I accepted to end it. But one preacher came to the prison and preached to us. It was like he was talking to me. During his sermon, I fainted… I was revived by prisoners that attended the service. When I woke up, I was soaked in water and the prisoners gathered around me… I asked what happened and they told me I had Passed out during the service.. That opened my eyes. I asked myself then: Ibinabo, do you really want to die?. I said no. I must turn my life to purpose driven, to rescue the weak and helped those that society had turned against.. I held onto God. I told Him it was up to Him. I didn’t want to see any lawyer again, I had no money. My family bailed me out after three months and three days…. I came out to pursue the appeal… I was living my simple life…I engaged in works with youths in my village. I enjoy spending time in my town. They know me there. They love me there… I was on my way to a funeral when my lawyer called me.. Earlier the previous day, I called to inform him I would be out of town and hoped the appeal date would not be scheduled while I was out of town. He said no. I told him I didn’t want the court to think I jumped bail… He called me on my way to the funeral, the next day and said the court date was actually that morning. I had to hurry back to court. I lost the appeal. I was shocked.
A post shared by Ibinabo Fiberesima (@ibinabofiberesima) on Apr 27, 2018 at 9:49am PDTView this post on Instagram
My lawyer did not understand what was going on. That day, I was taken back to Kirikiri maximum Female prison… that was 2016… While at Kirikiri, I discovered I had a lump in my breast. I had to do surgery… when I was released, I went to the village so that I would not breakdown and collapse into depression again… Yes I want to serve my people.. I want to be positive and impact people’s lives. And yes, Azuka, I remember that this sad situation is still here… I do not know who else to talk to… I do not know what else to do. I need help… The family sued me for N200Million in a civil case… Where will I get that money from?. So we have been negotiating to see where we can get to, so I can begin making payment by installment. We have agreed to settle out of court… we are not there yet. It’s a process… Though I have appealed this case to the Supreme Court, what is important to me now is making peace with the family: that is more important because it will heal me… his family and I would have peace. Azuka I am not a bad person. I do not know what else to do. People think I am a murderer. I am not. I am not. Azuka, free me….Free me… It was an unfortunate accident. I didn’t do it intentionally. That’s all I have been begging… I have begged…I do not know what to do…I am truly sorry it happened… I am not running for any political office. My people wanted me. A group of youths from my place asked me to run for office, I said no. They went and printed poster and placed it on social media. So I endorsed it.
A post shared by Ibinabo Fiberesima (@ibinabofiberesima) on Apr 27, 2018 at 9:50am PDTView this post on Instagram
Eventually, I must live. I have to do things to my fulfillment, to what God wants me to do; to be able to help youths help people generally… Life in Okrika is not easy… I need to help the youths believe in themselves… they are aching.. In my region, simple things of life are a struggle to get. I need to change their mindset that there is alternative way to Life… I have become a seeker of peace for my people… Life hasn’t been a bed of roses… But I must deal with this issue. I seek forgiveness from the family and peace of mind. I need to find closure and peace.… I am not a killer… I care too much… I am a caring person. I put myself in the shoes of Giwa’s family and I can understand their pains. I am very sorry for the loss of life of Dr. Giwa. I am. I am not arrogant. I never, ever said to his family that I would not offer public apology. I was offered to do a public service announcement across country with regards to Driving While Impaired. I said if I did that, it then meant I accepted I was drunk when I drove my car. I wasn’t drunk. I would do anything but that. I wasn’t drunk… they assumed because I owned a night club in the past, so I must be an alcoholic. This is exactly the truth. It’s not fair to admit that I was drunk. The police did not arrest me for drunk driving.. The court never charged me with drunk driving.. There were reckless and dangerous driving charges. Those were what I was charged by the court…. I was not charged with manslaughter. Not murder… My pains through the years include: Bouts of depression Attempted suicide I Had surgeries in my breast to remove lumps. I cannot do a lot. This unfortunate experience has affected my job prospects. I am unemployable I have stopped acting for a while. I just do charity works.. I am not flamboyant.. Dear Nigeria, I am sorry. I will forever regret what happened. Giwa was a father, husband and son. He was the sole and soul provider of his family. I feel terrible he died during an accident which I was involved. I feel really bad. I am sorry. I need prayers. Please pray for me and the soul of Giwa and his family.
A post shared by Ibinabo Fiberesima (@ibinabofiberesima) on Apr 27, 2018 at 9:50am PDTView this post on Instagram
I know I have found God through this experience. But I still need help. I am receiving therapy for my depression and suicidal thoughts… I am able to share these with you.. I am healing… one moment at a time..I am not a killer. I am not a murderer. I am not an alcoholic. I did not drive while intoxicated. I was involved in an accident that resulted in death and for that I am very sorry. I have had periods of feeling miserable in the last 12years as a result of this accident. I need to find peace. I seek forgiveness. I am sorry… Thank you” ** As told to Azuka Jebose
A post shared by Ibinabo Fiberesima (@ibinabofiberesima) on Apr 27, 2018 at 9:52am PDT
Able God (Zumix) crooner Sinzu who was formerly known as sauce kid is one of the Nigerian celebrities who has been to prison. The musician who was born as Babalola Falemi started singing in 2005, with the hit single ” Omoge Wa Jo”. He ventured into music back in the days when present-day music crooner such as Wizkid, Davido and the likes of them have not been birthed musically.
Sinzu would have scaled greater height as at now but he relocated to the united state after his secondary education. After his relocation, he became sloppy in his musical career and went off music. It was during the time of his demise from music that the platinum boys (Donjazzy, Dbanjand Wandecoal) started making waves in the music industry and thereafter the likes of Wizkid came forth.
In 2016, Sinzu was arrested in the united states for ground theft after he was caught with a card encoding device and $6,000 at the airport. Authorities acclaimed that he stole $15,388 from the unsuspecting victims by changing bank card pins and falsely withdrawing from their bank accounts.
He was found with over fifteen (15)fraudulent credit cards and sentenced to two years jail term in 2016. Similarly, he served his jail term and was released in 2018.
3. UCHE ODOPUTA
A lot of us know Mr Uche by the various names he has answered in Nigerian home videos. We know him as a veteran actor but certainly may be unaware he has been to prison. Uche Odoputa is a talented Nigerian actor who came to light in 2000.
He was born 23rd, September 1969 and hails from imo state. The actor was featured in various bestseller Nigerian home videos till 2007 when he was convicted for drug trafficking. Mr Uche was sentenced to prison after his conviction and he served two years and three weeks.
In an interview with Vanguard, after the actor’s release from prison, he narrated his ordeal saying “I regret my actions. I was a growing brand and a lot of people were angered by my action. I was disappointed in myself. I thank God I came out of prison a changed person.
It took away my career and the little fame I had at that time, gaining recognition in Nollywood and even among my colleagues has been a struggle since then. The late Amaka Igwe paid part of my legal fees, she was always in contact with me and never abandoned me. She took me under her tutelage after I was freed from prison and taught me directing.
While others paid to learn to direct, she taught me for free. I was to direct the job she was working on before she died. Up till now, I can’t bring myself to delete her telephone number. I still hear her voice sometimes. She was a good woman. John Okafor ( Mr Ibu ) used to send me recharge cards which I sold. That enabled me to take care of myself when I was imprisoned.”
Over the years after Uche Odoputa conviction and release from prison, the actor has grown his career, featured in best selling premiered Nigerian movies, directed great movies and travelled out of the country multiple times.
4. FELA ANIKULAPO-KUTI
Almost every Nigerian knows legendary Afrobeat musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti who was born on 15th, October 1939 went to prison but they are unaware of what took him to prison and how long he spent. Well, the multi-talented instrumentalist and Afrobeat musician who is renowned for his fearlessness was sentenced to prison in 1984 during the military rule Muhammadu Buhari.
Fela was arrested in Murtala Muhammed airport on his way to a scheduled concert in Europe. Reason being that he was in possession of £ 1, 600 pounds. Prior to his arrest, the government had enacted a law to prosecute anyone found with money exceeding £500. Although the artist explained that the money was meant for the entire band of 26 persons, he was still arrested.
After trials in court, Fela was sentenced to ten years imprisonment which was to be served for five years. He spent twenty months (1 year and eight months) in prison before he was released after a new coup defeated Buhari.
On his return from prison, he granted an interview where he said “Prison didn’t change my life, it developed my way of thinking. I am very spiritually inclined. I am in prison, it gave me a lot of time to meditate and think about what this world is really about. It [gave] me knowledge about time. If anybody tells me 20 years is a long time, I will tell him no because prison has taught me that time is meaningless unless you want to understand what time is all about.
“I did not think about music in the prison but maybe a few times some sounds come into my head but I don’t write them down, maybe just hum them.
“What I did in prison was not to play games, I tried not to talk too much, I tried to remain by myself. I just tried to meditate. That’s all I did.
“You see, prison is supposed to get you bored. So when people go in there, they try not to get bored. So I tell myself, ‘okay, you want to make me bored. I am going to get myself bored so that I will not be afraid to go in next time.
“So I go in there to understand what boredom is about. So it gave knowledge about patience. Those are the kind of things prison has taught me. I am prepared to go back. I am really prepared.”
However, the legend lived on till 1997 when he allegedly died of aids but speculation still makes round that his death was collateral damage. That he was inflicted in prison for his public criticism of the government in his songs. What do you believe?
Rapper Godwon who was born as Neyo Godwon Nyan and hails from Kaduna state is a household name in the Rap community. He started in Houston Texas after he relocated with his family due to an assassination attempt on his father. The Rapper contested in an Eminem rap contest in Texas and won.
Winning the contest brought him to the limelight with various deals and signup. Godwon went on to release a hit single where he featured his then friend Sinzu and Ikechukwu. After the release of his single him and sinzu both had an uproar.
Due to the uproar, Godwon revealed Sinzu’s mugshot and surveillance of his arrest on the grounds of ATM theft. Shortly after Godwon’s revelation of Sinzu’s shortcomings, he was arrested for burglary and theft.
Godwon conviction was that he broke into a ladies house and stole some of her belongings and candy. The stolen items were found in his car. As a result of his offence, he was sentenced in 2009 and released in 2011 after serving three years in prison.
6. DAMMY KRANE
Dammy Krane’s arrest hit the Nigerian music industry with great surprise and disbelief. Many stipulated that his bid to live a trendy and expensive lifestyle led him into theft. Dammy’s whose birth name is Oyindamola Johnson Emmanuel was arrested on 2nd, June 2017 in the US for ATM theft and forgery.
The “Amen“ singer was alleged to have used stolen credit card details to book a jet for a trip to Miami from a private jet leasing company. Dammy spent three days in prison awaiting trial because he pleaded not guilty of the charges.
Finally, after his trial, all charges against the singer was cancelled and lifted and he was set free.
7. LOLA MARGARET
Less than a week after Sinzu was sentenced to two years jail term likewise Dammy Krane detention in a Miami prison, Yoruba actress Lola Magaret Oladipupo was arrested in the united states in 2017.
The actress was arrested for withdrawal of huge sums of money deposited into her account. Prior to her arrest she had been withdrawing huge amount which was unaccountable. Her arrest surfaced with her mugshot online creating speculations that the actress was helping “yahoo boys” defraud foreigners abroad.
Lola spent weeks in prison before she was released and deported to Nigeria. The actress relocated to Ibadan immediately after her deportation. She has gotten her life together over the years since the incident.
8. RABI ISMAILA
Nigerian Kannywood actress Rabi Ismaila was the real celebrity who broke the law and went to prison. The actress was convicted and sentenced in 2005 for the murder of her boyfriend who was also an actor.
Rabi poisoned her boyfriend in 2002 with chocolate during a picnic and pushed him into a river where he drowned. Due to the murder, the court found her guilty and she was sentenced to death by hanging. She made appeals to the Supreme Court but it was denied, and her sentence to death upheld in 2011.
When she was still in prison awaiting her roll call, the actress escaped and was only caught six (6) years later in 2017. She was said to have committed the cross act of murder in other to take hold of the victim’s property.
It is most noteworthy that the dominant crime committed among Nigerian celebrities who have been to prison is that of ATM fraud. This act of crime was carried out by musicians for reason we cannot really foretell.
Consequently, the exceptional case of unaccountable money withdrawal has been the only recorded fraudulent act performed by a celebrity that led to detention in prison.
Although every case was pitiful, actress Rabi’s case certainly seems unbelievable and heartless considering the reasons for her actions. What do you think about these celebrities and how their cases where handle? I am grateful Rabi faced the law. What if she wasn’t caught after her escape?
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