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Naira Marley, Sam Larry, and the Death of Mohbad

It was a sad day for the entertainment industry when Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad, passed on to glory on September 12, 2023. The demise of the 27-year-old is one strewn with suspicion, as many believe the circumstances surrounding his death suggest a mystery to be unravelled.

Mohbad came into prominence in 2016 after performing a version of Kiss Daniel’s song, and in 2019, he signed to Marlian Records, a record label owned by popular musician Azeez Adeshina Fashola, also known by his stage name Naira Marley.

During his time at the label, Mohbad was able to carve a niche for himself in the music industry, specifically tilting towards a genre of Afrobeat music known as ‘Afropop.” The rapper became a budding Afrobeats singer with promising talent. Mohbad was able to shake the Nigerian music industry with songs like ‘Ponmo’, ‘Feel Good’, and ‘KPK (Ko Po Ke)’, earning a few nominations at the Headies Award Ceremony.

In the year 2022, Mohbad decided to cut ties with Marlian music following an allegation in which the rapper accused Naira Marley of assault, stating that he was physically attacked by boys, which he believed was ordered by Marlian Records boss Naira Marley.

It can be recalled that a video went viral where the now-deceased singer recorded himself calling for people to come to his aid as he was being threatened and beaten by Naira Marley’s boys. In response, Naira Marley came out to debunk his involvement with the issue in a rather flippant way, claiming that the deceased was high on drugs and was dealing with drug abuse and addiction. One might wonder if that isn’t the case of pot calling the kettle black.

As usual with celebrity stories in Nigeria, the matter died down; nobody was arrested; nobody was invited over by the authorities for questioning; perhaps no complaints were officially launched by the supposed victim to warrant the authorities intervention. All that unfolded in the drama were mere social media shenanigans: videos of a young man calling out for help, accusing his former boss of threatening him, and sending hoodlums to beat him up. That isn’t a valid enough reason for the police to intervene; before the police would involve themselves in something like that, a formal report needs to be filed by the victim or the one in distress. Just a social media video is not enough to get the police to poke their noses into your affairs, unless, of course, you post something directed at the government, maybe to protest bad governance. Then the authorities will be sensitive enough to act without invitation. You will be invited, accosted, and charged for being inciteful or for making derogatory remarks about the government that is supposed to allow for free speech.

Nevertheless, forward to 2023. The chicken does come home to roost, and the action that was not taken will return with great consequences. The video made by Mohbad, where he was calling for help and stating that someone was after his life, becomes the evidence that might prove something along the lines of someone who was oppressed, bullied, threatened, and eventually murdered.

Sam Larry Alubarika Eletu Balogun, popularly known as ‘Sam Larry’, who became popular to a large extent after being accused by Nigerian controversial artist Portable of being the leader of a cultist group known as One Million Boys, is a very close friend to the Marlian Records boss, Naira Marley.

Now, it is not farfetched that Sam and Marley, being best of friends, are one force against a common enemy. Recall when Mohbad accused the Marlian boss of sending his boys or men to assault him. This was made manifest in a video now popular online just after the death of Mohbad, where Sam barged in on a video shoot the deceased was having with fellow musician Zlatan. A report released by the police after Mohbad’s passing further solidifies the claim that indeed the KPK singer had lived under oppression and the threat to life and property. It was reported, hence, that the deceased filed a report in June 2023 alleging that Sam Larry, a music producer and known associate of Marley’s, had assaulted him and destroyed some of his properties.

It was said in the report that Larry had interrupted a video shoot, leading a group of 15 men armed with firearms and cutlasses who claimed to work for monarch Oba Elegushi, who later dismissed the claim of association with the criminal group and Sam Larry. The police later said that Mohbad had not attended a subsequent meeting to address the allegations and that Sam and others accused of the assault had then filed a defamation complaint.

Putting things in perspective, it may not be too difficult to understand why Mohbad might have slowed down or abandoned subsequent meetings with the police. This was someone who had no one to back him up or protect him from these people, who not only outnumber him but have the resources to overpower him. It might even just be fear of the unknown that prevented him from continuing with the police.

As the story continues to unravel, more evidence continues to flood the internet, all suggesting what, in retrospect,people feared, after watching his first distress video, was the worst that could happen to him: the murder of the 27-year-old promising singer.