The Aftermath Of Mohbad’s Sudden Death

A week of allegations, peaceful protests and nationwide calls for justice for the fallen singer.

This is a developing story about the aftermath of Mohbad’s death.

On September 12, 2023, the tragic news of Mohbad, real name Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba’s passing broke. The 27-year-old artist had come into the limelight by creating some of the most transcendent records this decade, inspired by his unending search for peace. In the last week, his colleagues in the entertainment industry have continued to pay their respects; from monetary donations to his family to tribute songs and calls for justice for his alleged killing.

Following the news of his death, many of his nearest and dearest have alluded to his untimely death being tied to threats he reportedly received from his record label (Marlian Records) while he was alive. At different points in the last year, Mohbad had revealed through a series of X (formerly Twitter) posts, video recordings and Instagram Live Streams that he was embroiled in a bitter fight with his former label.


February, 2022 – NDLEA Arrest

In February 2022, the Marlian Records residence in Lagos was reportedly raided by the Nigeria Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) which led to Marlian signees; Mohbad, Zinoleesky, and other associates being arrested. Following the arrest, Mohbad took to an Instagram Live stream, claiming that his life was in danger. He lamented, “Everybody in the whole world, please help me, if I die, na Marian Music, Naira Marley kill me. Please help me, I don’t want to die”. 

In the last week, some more footage from that day has been released, which shows Mohbad in what looked like a hospital, crying about his recent experience in NDLEA custody. He claimed to have been harassed and given a substance to drink. “They gave me something liquid to drink,” he said in the video. “It was inside a plastic water bottle. They said I was using drugs. I was the only one who drank it, they didn’t give the others to drink. I won’t lie. Then they told me to go home and told the others to wait”. Following his death, NDLEA through spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, has debunked any claims that Mohbad was arrested and poisoned in their custody.

October 2022 – Mohbad vs Marlian Records

A few months later in October 2022, the musician revealed through a thread on X the details of his conflict with Marlian Records. “As an artist from the street, I thought the Marlian Family would be a good place for me. However, recent events and certain truths have come to light which threaten my peace, health and career.”, he said, before going into detail about the cause of the day’s fracas. “I noticed Tunde was quite agitated as we started the discussion. In the middle of the conversation, Tunde became violent and attacked me. The guys I was with were also attacked, humiliated and stripped naked by Sid, Shuddy and Seyi and some of the other boys. We were barely able to escape. 3 of us had to be checked into the hospital to get medical care for the injuries sustained during the assault.”

In the series of posts, Mohbad claimed that he asked for his manager to be changed, and as a result was beaten up with the people he went with. He also shared footage of the injuries he sustained in the alleged attack.

June 2023: Mohbad files petition against Sam Larry  

In the aftermath of Mohbad’s death, a video was released of him and Zlatan shooting the video for “Account Balance,” off his last project, ‘Blessed’. The video showed a number of threatening figures storming the set of the video shoot with weapons in hand, threatening that Mohbad would not be able to leave the premises. The video identifies Sam Larry, a known associate of Naira Marley, who appeared to attack Mohbad, before Zlatan stepped in and protected the now-deceased.

A picture of Mohbad’s petition to the Nigerian Police Force also surfaced, which alleged that “they have been asked to deal with me for reasons best known to them which till date they are threatening to kill me if seen”. Accounts from Paulo, Bella Shmurda, Iyabo Ojo and others corroborate Mohbad’s claims that he was being hunted and attacked, stating that he had confided in them or someone close to them about it before he died. 


September 2023: Mohbad is pronounced dead

Last Tuesday, Mohbad’s sudden death was announced. Over the weekend, a video of the artist’s mother surfaced online, where she spoke about some of the challenges her son had been facing before he died. She reaffirmed the allegation that Mohbad was given something to drink at the NDLEA office and that since then he struggled with fear, anxiety, hypertension, insomnia and more. In between her pleas for justice, she spoke about the artist’s fear of attending public events, because people being allegedly sent from the label were after him. She debunked claims made by the label in several live streams that her son didn’t suffer from any mental illness as they stated but was being set up to look that way. 

The immediate aftermath of his death cast a pensive atmosphere across social media, as his quick burial, which was live-streamed, raised questions about such a hurried interment without an autopsy. Some people noted that he wasn’t Muslim and, therefore, didn’t need to be buried immediately as Islamic custom requires. In addition, others found fault with his family burying him in an undersized coffin, further highlighting suspicions of foul play. 

Sustained vitriol has been the response of the general public, and most especially, industry insiders who knew Mohbad and his struggles with Marlian Records. Most notably, Bella Shmurda made a number of affecting tweets calling for justice for his friend. “Until those who oppress him face justice and sentenced, nothing like last respect,” he wrote, rejecting the notion that the deceased had peacefully been laid to rest. 

These revelations have brought about a call for justice, which has resulted in a spate of processions across the country and even in the UK. Throughout Nigeria, from Kogi and Abeokuta to Asaba and Akure, hordes of young people have taken to the streets to demand Justice For Mohbad, showing solidarity with the fallen artist. In Lagos State, many more are planning to join the peaceful walk and tribute concert scheduled for Thursday evening (September 21).

The Nigerian Police Force has also stepped in, recently sharing an official statement by the Lagos Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa yesterday. The unit is said to have inaugurated a 13-person special investigation team to look into the death and an interim report is expected within two weeks. “We don’t want to isolate specific characters,” Owohunwa said. “All facts, including videos, including personalities that have been mentioned, including those not even mentioned but we do know from our investigative experience would be vital.”

To carry out his autopsy as the investigation demands, Mohbad’s body has been exhumed from its burial spot in Ikorodu. The Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin has also confirmed an arrest has been made, of the nurse who gave the deceased what was supposed to be an anti-tetanus injection after he was attacked in Lagos state.

On the 21st of September, a candlelight procession was held in Lagos and other states across Nigeria, including Enugu and Anambra states in the southeast. In Lagos, musicians Falz, Zlatan and Davido, gave the closing remark at the tribute concert. It was an emotional celebration of Mohbad, whose death has morphed into a global consideration, as the likes of American superstars Lil Durk and Meek Mill have shared posts about it. Mohbad also appeared on the prestigious Time’s Square billboard, with a touching message read alongside it: “Will be remembered forever. Legends are never forgotten. R.I.P.”

It was also reported that later that evening, the crowd which had gathered for the candlelight procession, started to march through the Lekki tollgate, a symbolic location during the End SARS protest. That was when the available policemen began to ask them to disperse, and in the eventual refusal, reportedly threw teargas into the crowd. In response, the Lagos Police spokesperson, Hundeyin released a statement on Friday, the 22nd of September, relaying the events that spurred the police’s decision to use teargas.

According to Hundeyin, “the Lagos State Police Command had an agreement with the organizers of the candle light procession that it was to end at 8pm latest and should terminate at Muri Okunola, Victoria Island,” he said. “It was clearly stated for avoidance of doubt that in the interest of all Lagosians and considering the heavy use of the Lekki-Epe Expressway, the Lekki Toll Gate would be a no-go area. It, however, became disconcerting that after the procession duly ended at Muri Okunola park as agreed, with the police providing optimal security all through, some persons started gathering at the Lekki Toll Gate with intent to manifest objectives extraneous to the #justiceforMohbad initiative. Vehicular movement on the ever-busy expressway had also been brought to a total standstill, leading to traffic build up. Having gone down this road before, having learnt from previous similar encounters, and having studied the pattern in the crowd, the red flags and early warning signs of total chaos and anarchy were discernible. Therefore, in fulfillment of our mandate to protect life and property, maintain law and order and prevent crimes, we adopted the least harmful method of crowd dispersal, following the failure of verbal persuasion – the use of teargas”.