Nigerian police have opened a special investigation into last week’s death of an upcoming music star, whose sudden demise has fired up the country’s Afrobeats world with speculation over what happened.
MohBad, whose real name was Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, a singer and rapper who wrote hits such as “Feel Good”, died last Tuesday aged 27, his family announced on his Instagram account.
With police revealing no details of the popular singer’s death, Nigeria’s social media has been flooded with indignation over his passing, but also with speculation about whether he had been harassed by powerful members of the country’s hugely influential music industry.
National police in Lagos State, Nigeria’s economic and cultural capital, announced Monday that they had formed a special team to conduct a “fair and transparent investigation.”
Lagos State police commissioner Idowu Owohunwa told reporters the special investigative team would look at all the evidence and anyone who might be linked to MohBad’s death.
“Everybody linked to it will be identified and they will be bought to establish their level of liability,” he said.
Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday said he was not oblivious to the “sad passing” of MohBad and was following the ongoing investigations.
He said he had invited the Department of State Services or DSS national security agency to join the investigation to help “unearth the truth”.
“I also appeal to all friends and fans of the deceased to stay calm and refrain from making inflammatory utterances and reaching prejudicial conclusions on this matter,” he said.
The police investigation will be carried out by the department in charge of criminal affairs, and the police said they could not rule out an exhumation of the body.
MohBad’s career took off in 2019, after being signed by the powerful record label of famous rapper Naira Marley, one of the country’s leading performers. The two parted ways in 2022 after disagreements.
In recent days, some fans online accused the rapper’s team of having a link in MohBad’s death, with an online petition which has gathered more than 250,000 signatories.
But in a press release, Marley’s label dismissed any such claims, saying he was devastated by the death of “a brother” and a “dear friend”.
“No family is perfect, families have disagreements, but no harm whatsoever was wished on MohBad. So many things left unsaid but the love was always there,” Marlian Music said in a statement on social media.
“This tragedy is not only a loss for us but to everyone you touched musically around the world.”
Afrobeats, a musical genre born in the 2000s in Nigeria, has exploded in popularity in recent years with Nigerian stars like Davido, Burna Boy, WizKid and Rema winning accolades around the world.