Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
Nollywood actor, Funke Akindele, has come under intense criticism for hosting a celebrity-studded party at home despite the government-ordered lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thousands of Nigerians on social media called for the arrest of Akindele, popularly called ‘Jenifa’.
The actress, who is considered as an ambassador for the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and Dettol, has appeared in adverts calling on Nigerians to observe social distancing and hygiene.
However, in a video posted on social media by her husband, Abdulrasheed Bello aka JJC Skillz, many celebrities including singer Naira Marley, are seen having a house party in contravention of the government order.
In the video, which is almost two minutes long, JJC Skillz says it was his birthday and he had to invite friends to celebrate with him at their home located at Amen Estate, Lekki-Epe Expressway.
He said, “Na here we dey, those of us wey get mind (sic). This is the best estate to be stuck in during the lockdown. It is my birthday.”
The guests, which are over 20, including Naira Marley, are also seen singing ‘Ma fo’, a song released by the musician last year.
The video, however, caused an uproar online with many Nigerians calling on both the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government to take immediate action.
@Dolusegun tweeted, “Funke Akindele and her husband should be arrested this morning.”
@Klazematics said, “The government won’t succeed with this lockdown if people like Funke Akindele are not punished for their reckless behaviour. A scapegoat needs to be made of them.”
@Bshizzle70 wrote on Instagram, “Everybody at that party should be arrested. This is a criminal offence. Choose who your role model is wisely.”
@deeoneayekooto tweeted, @Funke Akindele, a Dettol ambassador, is leading a campaign against coronavirus and you’re on the advert. You’re a Lagos State Government ambassador. You held a party in the midst of coronavirus lockdown. Shame on you, you are not a worthy ambassador.”
The Lagos Infection Diseases Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) prescribes a jail term of one month or N100,000 fine or both for persons found guilty of hosting gatherings or flouting the lockdown order.
It reads in part, “Where there is a violation of a close down or stay at home order, security agencies shall have power to arrest without warrant and may detain any person who violates the close down or stay at home order for at least forty-eight (48) hours.
“Where the arrested person is found guilty, the person is liable to a fine of one Hundred Thousand Nara fine (N100,000.00) or one (1) month imprisonment or three (3) months Community service.”