On 4 September, as Fela is about to board a plane from Lagos to New York to start a US tour, he is arrested on charges of currency smuggling. The Afrika 70 musicians board the plane, believing Fela will be allowed to follow on a later flight. Instead, Fela is held pending trial.
The band plays a few US gigs then, with no sign of Fela, returns to Nigeria. In court, Fela explains that he declared the £1,600 found on him on a Customs Declaration form, but – to widespread disbelief - the police say that this has been “lost.” Customs officials who offer to testify that Fela is telling the truth are held in detention and so are unable to appear in court. Fela is sentenced to five years. First held in Kiri-Kiri Prison in Lagos, he is then moved to one further away, in Maiduguiri in the north of the country. Femi and Egypt 80 continue to perform at the Shrine.