Nigerian singer and record label owner, Naira Marley, has finally spoken out about the death of his former artist, Mohbad, who died on September 12, 2023.
Naira Marley, who is currently out of the country, said he had no hand in Mohbad’s death and that he never fought or attacked him.
Naira Marley, whose real name is Azeez Fashola, is the founder of Marlian Music, the label that signed Mohbad in 2020. Mohbad, whose real name was Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, was a rising star in the Nigerian music industry, known for his hit songs such as “Koma Jensun”, “Ponmo Sweet”, and “Feel Good”.
However, Mohbad’s career and life were cut short when he died under mysterious circumstances on September 12, 2023. According to reports, Mohbad was found unconscious in his hotel room in Lagos and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The cause of his death has not been officially confirmed, but there have been speculations that he was assaulted by Naira Marley and his crew over a business dispute.
Naira Marley has been accused of being a drug lord and a cultist who runs a drug cartel under the guise of a record label. He has also been accused of exploiting and abusing his artists and staff. Some people have alleged that he had a fallout with Mohbad over money and contract issues and that he ordered his thugs to beat him up.
However, in a statement he posted on his Instagram page on Tuesday, Naira Marley denied all the allegations and said he was shocked and saddened by Mohbad’s death. He said he considered Mohbad to be his brother and a member of his music family. He said he had no reason to harm him or wish him dead.
He admitted that he and Mohbad had some misunderstandings while working together, but they were resolving their business disputes legally before he died. He said he had not been in Nigeria since August 31, 2023 and that he was making arrangements to return to the country to assist the police investigation and clear his name.
He also said that Marlian Music is a legitimate label that focuses on championing exceptional talent, breaking new acts and nurturing them. He said he is not a drug lord or a cultist and that he does not belong to any fraternity. He said he is dedicated to proving his innocence and cooperating with the authorities.
He also said that someone who has a vendetta against him is behind Mohbad’s death and is fueling public opinions to have him lynched for reasons known to them. He said he is confident that the truth will prevail and that the world will know who killed Mohbad.
He also expressed his condolences to Mohbad’s family and fans and asked them to pray for his soul. He also thanked his supporters for standing by him during this difficult time.
The statement reads in full:
“In the last few days, there has been a lot of onslaught on my person and reputation globally over the death of my former signee. All manner of stories have been woven against me in respect of his untimely death. I have not only been in shock over the death of the deceased whom I considered to be my brother and member of our music family, but over the various lies spread and threats against me.
“Before I progress further, let me say that as it is traumatic for a lot of people to bear the reality of lleri’s death, so it is to me. May his gentle soul continue to rest in peace and may God grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“Permit me to categorically state that I have no hand in the death of llerioluwa, either directly or indirectly. It is not unusual in the industry, just like in several other industries to have family friction, even amongst blood relatives.
“Truly, we had our own share of misunderstandings whilst working together, but the disagreement between us was never to the extent being painted by some hirelings. It never degenerated to the extent of wishing each other death. Even at that, we were resolving our business disputes legally before he had passed.
“I have chosen not to say anything since due to being distraught over his death and in order not to jeopardize the investigation being carried out by the government agencies.
“In addition, I have been out of the country since the 31st of August, 2023 and I’m yet to return. In light of the police invitation, I am making arrangements to return to the country to assist the investigation and give my version of the events. I am fully cooperating with the Police team and I certainly have no reason to be a fugitive when I have no hand in his death
“I am certain that the culprit behind his death and has a vendetta against me and are fueling public opinions to have me lynched for reasons known to them. In due time the circumstances surrounding Mohbad’s death will be unveiled and the world will know the truth. This kind of scenario of attempting to set someone up is not novel in the industry as other great musicians have experienced the same and came out better and stronger. Mine will not be an exception as I am innocent of the accusations.
“Mohbad left the label in September 2022, the label accepted his departure. Marlian Music did not stop or interfere with his career or releases since and he has been with oneRPM. Legal efforts were made to reconcile his concerns regarding the work we had done together.
“The rumors regarding the label being a drug cartel are untrue. I am not a drug lord, neither do I Marley belong to any cult or fraternity. I’m dedicated to proving my innocence and I’m cooperating with the authorities to clear my name with sufficient evidence.
“Marlian Music is an independent label run by a small intimate team. We run a legitimate label that focuses on championing exceptional talent, breaking new acts and nurturing them
“I will like to clearly state that I have never fought or attacked Mohbad. For the avoidance of doubt I have never instructed anyone, friend, known associates or fans to attack, bully or harass Mohbad. With regards to the talent on the label, none of our artists ever fought or mistreated Mohbad.
“I share my deepest condolences to the family. Let’s be mindful as we seek justice to focus on supporting the police and authorities with relevant information and evidence surrounding his death so that those responsible will be apprehended. I am positive that at the end of the day. the truth will prevail and I shall be exonerated.
“My lawyers are already in touch with the police and government agencies and will support in every way necessary.
“Without a doubt I will honor his memory and I promise to do right by him and his family.”
“I want to use this medium to express my heartfelt condolences to Mohbad’s family, friends and fans. I pray that God will grant them the strength to bear this great loss.
“I also want to thank my loyal fans and supporters who have stood by me during this trying time. Your love and prayers mean a lot to me.
“I urge everyone to remain calm and peaceful as we await the outcome of the investigation. I believe that justice will be served and the truth will prevail.
“God bless you all.
On October 6, 2022, Mohbad made a series of posts which read, “The events of the last two days have left indelible scars in my heart. I have always just wanted to create good music and to provide for my family and myself through my music. As an Artiste 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. Because of these issues, I informed Naira Marley on the Marlian WhatsApp group chat of my intention to change my manager.
“This didn’t go down well with my current Manager Tunde (His Brother) There were instant angry outbursts and protests from him in the chat. I went to Naira Marley’s house with my Producer and my friend on the 4th of October, 2022, to have this conversation and reach a peaceful-resolution.
“We were in the studio, and some of the guys who work with Naira- Sid, Shuddy, Seyi and others- were present, as well as Naira and Tunde. 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.
“Naira Marley was fully present throughout this event, and in fact, coordinated some of the attacks as he instructed the boys to beat us up. Some of this was captured on video.
“It is therefore disrespectful for Naira Marley to insinuate that I started the attack because I was intoxicated as he is fully aware of the facts and circumstances surrounding this violent attack. It is not the first time Naira has lied to push his own narrative, but it will hopefully be the last.”
Newsflash Nigeria had reported how Mohbad wrote a petition to the Nigeria Police Force reporting multiple threats to his life from controversial socialite, Samson Balogun, aka Sam Larry, amongst others.
Mohbad, on June 27, 2023, filed the petition captioned “Petition of threat to life, malicious damage of properties valued the sum of five-million-naira, assault occasioning harm, oppression and conduct likely to cause breach of peace” against Sam Larry and Oba Elegushi of Eti-Osa, Lagos State.
However, the police failed to act on the petition.