By Ferdinand Ekechukwu
That seems to be the question bugging the minds of many concerned citizens as the Nigerian Police swings into investigation following the death of singer Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad. The force in a statement promised to carry out diligent investigation following outcry over the death of the afrobeats artiste.
The promising singer, songwriter sadly passed on Tuesday September 12, 2023, aged 27. In the statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, it averred that the force is committed to a comprehensive investigation into the matter as the Lagos State Commissioner of Police has been tasked to unravel the circumstance surrounding his death.
The force stated that it understands the concerns regarding his untimely demise. “Rest assured, updates will be provided as investigations unfold,” the statement partly reads,” while encouraging members or close associates with valuable information to approach the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to assist in the process.
“In the meantime, we kindly request that individuals refrain from making statements or engaging in activities that could jeopardize the ongoing investigation,” it added. The Lagos State Police command in a separate forum said the corpse of the late singer would be exhumed for autopsy to aid investigation into the cause of his death, if it is necessary.
The cause of his death has been a subject of controversy since the tragic incident. Speaking during an Instagram live session on Thursday night, the State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said the police would probe to know the cause of Mohbad’s death. A couple of names had allegedly been mentioned relating to the death of the Ikorodu born Mohbad.
Among whom are his estranged record label lead, Afeez Fashola, aka Naira Marly and a music promoter, Samson Balogun, popular as Sam Larry.
Meanwhile, amid the controversies surrounding the death of Mohbad, the Elegushi Royal Family of Eti-Osa, Lagos State, distanced their family from the embattled Sam Larry.
The Elegushi family last Thursday made their stance known in a statement released by the Palace, in which the Royal Family denounced any alliance with the music promoter. “The Elegushi Royal Family of Eti-Osa wishes to put on record the misinformation on the media space involving Samson Erinfolami Balogun (AKA Sam Larry). Samson Balogun is not a member of the royal family and does not work for the royal family or king in any capacity.
“Like other celebrities, politicians, religious and community leaders, he visits the palace to pay homage to the king and seek royal blessings just like other members of the public. While expressing our condolences to the family and friends of late Ilerioluwa Aloba (known as MohBad) we would like to add our voices to the calls for a thorough investigation into circumstances surrounding his death, with a view to unravel any foul play.
We ask our friends in the media to be mindful of the sensitivity of the issue and desist from spreading falsehood that may jeopardise the investigation.” This is coming after a petition by the late singer surfaced online, where the deceased alleged threat to life, malicious damage, assault, and oppression, among others, against Sam Larry and others, in a petition to the FCID Annex, Alagbon, Lagos State.
Also in a video circulating online, Mohbad, whose remains were hurriedly laid to rest last Wednesday, was seen being assaulted by some people allegedly led by Sam Larry during a video shoot. In the video, Mohbad and another afrobeats artiste, Omoniyi Temidayo aka Zlatan Ibile, were on set of a music video when the said Sam Larry stormed the scene with some boys targeting the late singer who was heard talking. The video left many Nigerians on social media furious as they stormed Larry’s Instagram page to attack him for bullying and threatening the late singer.
However, in the petition, dated June 27, 2023, the late singer had urged the Nigeria Police Force to protect him from Sam Larry and his team, comprising 15 others. The petition, titled, ‘Petition of threat to life, malicious damage of properties valued at the sum of Five Million Naira, assault occasioning harm, oppression and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace against Sam Larry Elegushi, Elele, Obele and others’, was addressed to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department Annex, Alagbon in Ikoyi, Lagos.
In the petition, Mohbad alleged that Sam Larry and others all armed stormed the venue of a video shoot where him and Zlatan Ibile, were working; and threatened to wreak havoc. He added that they eventually destroyed equipment worth over N5 million at the scene, and assaulted him (Mohbad) before he narrowly escaped after sustaining injuries.
The outpouring of emotion since his death was confirmed has been overwhelming. A dream cut short. Allegedly bullied by his former label mates, Naira Marley, Zinoleski and others, and attacked a number of times. That was enough to make him depressed. But the afro-pop star always responded the only way he knew with music, troubled at many turns. He waxed lyrically about his challenge. One can tell he had premonition of his death.
Contrary to speculations in the music industry, Mohbad’s wife Wunmi had opened up on the late singer’s lifestyle as she revealed he lived in fear till the end.
Wunmi, who has a baby boy with Mohbad, said upon the birth of their son, the singer was constantly worried for their lives and wanted them to leave the country. The late 27 years old singer’s wife revealed he wanted to face his fight alone as she suggested some individuals were behind Mohbad’s death. “He struggled till death, too many pains, threatening, he has always lived with fear, continuous fights everywhere he goes too, he has never been happy for a whole day,” she revealed in a post.
She also debunked the reports of him battling mental issues. “He was called a junkie, a mad person, mental issue so the public would have another view about him. He’s dead at least you all won, take your trophy. Y’all made me a widow at 24 years,” Mohbad’s wife sadly wrote. The death of the famous Nigerian singer continues to stir emotions and reactions online as more details about his passing emerge. Good the Nigerian Police Force has commenced investigation.
As someone rightly noted, “The public outpouring of grief in reaction to his passing speaks to the recognizable beam of light that the singer and rapper projected to the world during a memorable 27-year stint on earth. For the last five years, street-pop, a sub-genre of Afropop defined by its existential lyricism and hard-knock tales of beating the odds has been on a propulsive rise. Mohbad was at the very center of that wave.
“Thanks to a recognizable baritone-tinged voice, his raspy delivery style, and a stellar grasp of language, Mohbad was among a group of Ikorodu-born stars who constituted street-pop’s second generation and brought the angst and insecurities of inner-city kids to the wider world via music. What truly set Mohbad apart from his peers, even at the beginning was an utter conviction that he had a message to share with the world.”
In between dropping street hits like ‘Ronaldo’ and ‘Mi O Foh’ in 2019, he released ‘Imole,’ a soul-tinged rap-sung declaration of intent that contained the line, “Imole ni mi/ mo de fe tan kari aye” which translates to ‘I’m the light and I want to shine all over the world.’ A deal signed with Naira Marley’s Marlian Records later same year was supposed to facilitate those global aspirations and set the stage for Mohbad’s light to touch the universe.