Nigerians demand justice and accountability following rapper Mohbad's tragic passing

Screenshot of Nigerian rapper and singer Mohbad from YouTube video, ‘Mohbad’s TRAGIC Death & List Of Other Artists Who Are VICTIMS Of Record Label Issues‘ by African Glitz TV. Fair use.

By Oluwapelumi Adewole

In the wake of the controversial death of 27-year-old Nigerian musician, Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad, a wave of discussions and accusations has swept across social media, prompting a significant response from the Nigerian population. The discussions have fueled a growing demand for the banning and arrest of Mohbad's former record label, Marlians Music.

Nigerians have created hashtags and formed street protests demanding the police look into the cause of Mohbad's death.

The Nigerian rapper and singer was signed to a music recording label, owned by controversial Nigerian rapper, Azeez Adeshina Fashola, aka Naira Marley, in 2019. The Afrobeats artist announced his exit from the record label on October 25,  2022. His legal team released a statement claiming that Mohbad’s departure was as a result of constant assaults allegedly orchestrated by Naira Marley, and unpaid royalties dating back to 2019.

Meanwhile, Naira Marley had previously been arrested for several crimes including fraud and cybercrime, robbery, sexual assault and more in Nigeria, as well as in the U.K.

Mohbad’s demise was confirmed on September 14, barely a year after his contentious split with his record label. Before Mohbad’s death, he recorded a viral video holding Naira Marley accountable for what he believed would be his impending death.

On June 27, Mohbad filed a petition to the Nigerian Police against Sam Larry (a friend of Naira Marley) alleging assault during a music video of his new song entitled “Account balance.”

Shortly after his death, videos and pictures began circulating online, suggesting there is some evidence that his demise may have been linked to his former boss, Naira Marley, and a friend of his boss, Alubarika Eletu Balogun, known as Sam Larry.

Because of the pressure from the Nigerian populace, the government of Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwoolu announced on X (formerly Twitter) that the government has initiated an investigation into the case.

Nigerian actress, Iyabo Ojo called out parents and youths, as well as entertainers via her Instagram account in a live video, urging them to support her in a rally to protest for justice to seek proper justice for the deceased and judgement for his killers. “All parents, both male and female, who are pained by this incident, all the young ones who are truly pained by the death of Mohbad, we would pick a date. We are marching to their office because we need justice. It is a peaceful protest and our constitution gives us a right to protest,” she said.

However, some Nigerian youths spontaneously took to the streets to protest for justice for Mohbad. The protesters, numbering in the hundreds, presented a united front, displaying Mohbad’s pictures and posters while passionately chanting for justice. Their resounding cry echoed through the streets: “We demand justice for Mohbad.”

Over 260,000 people have so far signed a petition to ban Marlian Music.

The Lagos State Police began inquiries by creating a 13-man special investigation team to probe the circumstances surrounding Mohbad's sudden death and quick burial.

On September 21, the Lagos state police spokesman, Benjamin Hundeyin said that Mohbad's body had been exhumed for an autopsy to be done. The autopsy has now been completed, but the results are yet to be released, leaving Nigerians eagerly waiting for clarity on the cause of Mohbad's death.

Meanwhile, as a result of the accusations, Naira Marley's songs have been banned from several radio stations until further notice.

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