Actor, Uche Odoputa has opened up on his tough experience while in prison and also explained how popular actor and comedian, John Okafor, better known as Mr Ibu, helped him out.
The actor, Uche Odoputa was close to becoming an A-list actor, he had a huge fan base and was on the verge of becoming as prominent as the likes of Emeka Ike, Ramsey Nouah and Jim Iyke when unfortunately, he altered the course of his career. In 2007, he was arrested for trafficking drugs and subsequently, he was imprisoned for two years and three weeks.
The Orlu, Imo State-born actor, said he wasn’t making enough money at the time and some individuals took advantage of his desperation and introduced him to the drug trade.
“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,” he said.
Speaking on how the incident affected him, Uche said it cost him a lot and hampered his growth in Nollywood.
He said, “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.”
Nevertheless, not all of his colleagues distanced themselves from him while he was in prison, he said.
“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 directing , 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,” he said.
Odoputa also acknowledged the assistance he got John Okafor, popularly known as Mr. Ibu.
He said, “He used to send me recharge cards which I sold. That enabled me to take care of myself when I was imprisoned.”
Odoputa, who now lives in Port Harcourt, said the relocation was necessary to enable him plan his life.
“I need some sanity and time to decongest my brain. Things were moving too fast in Lagos, so I relocated to Port Harcourt.”