The death of Nigerian singer Ilerioluwa Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad, has sparked a wave of grief, anger and demand for justice among his fans and fellow musicians.
The 27-year-old rising Afrobeats star died in a hospital on September 12, 2023, after receiving treatment for an ear infection. His body was buried the next day by his family members in a hasty and secretive manner, without the presence of his wife and infant son.
His death and burial have raised many questions and suspicions about the possible involvement of his former record label boss, Naira Marley, who has been accused of harassing and attacking Mohbad after he left his label in 2022.
When Mohbad died, a video circulated of one unidentified man wailing, “Mohbad is dead”, with the artist lying topless in a car. On X, a user shared an audio from an unverified eyewitness who detailed what he saw the day Mohbad died.
He saw Mohbad alive but looking low when he entered the hospital and asked for a selfie. Thirty minutes later, the witness saw a hive of activity in the hospital and moments later, he heard Mohbad was dead. Instead of the hospital following proper procedure, the man who went viral crying about Mohbad’s death carried him out.
This is a relevant report of an eye witness who was in the hospital in which Mohbad died.pic.twitter.com/oLbIClffX2
The Nigeria Police Force and the Lagos State Government launched investigations into Mohbad’s death following public outcry and protests from his supporters. The police exhumed his body for an autopsy on September 21, 2023, to determine the cause of death.
After the police dug Mohbad, there was fresh blood in the grave, leading to speculations that he was buried alive. They also arrested a nurse at the hospital where Mohbad allegedly died.
The autopsy results are yet to be released as of the time of writing this report. The police have also assured the public that they will leave no stone unturned in finding the truth and bringing anyone responsible to justice.
Mohbad joined Marlian Records, owned by British Nigerian rapper Naira Marley, in 2019. He rose to fame with his unique baritone voice and moving lyrics that resonated with many Nigerians.
The star released several hit songs under the label, such as “Koma Jensun”, “Ponmo Sweet” and “Sorry”. However, he left the label in 2022, citing unpaid royalties, poor management and lack of creative freedom as reasons for his departure. He also claimed that Naira Marley and his associates had threatened him and tried to sabotage his career.
Since then, Mohbad had been involved in a series of altercations with Naira Marley and his crew, which were captured in various videos that circulated on social media. Some videos showed Mohbad fleeing from assailants, beaten, or bleeding from open wounds.
Fans have blamed Naira Marley for being behind these attacks, alleging that he was jealous of Mohbad’s success and wanted to silence him. Naira Marley denied involvement in Mohbad’s death, saying he had no reason to harm him and that the loss saddened him.
Meanwhile, Mohbad’s music has dominated the charts and the airwaves since his death. His songs currently occupy the top three places on the Apple Music Top 100 in Nigeria and on Billboard’s trending songs global chart. His fans have also organised candlelight processions, tribute concerts and online campaigns to honour his memory and demand justice for him.
Mohbad is survived by his wife, son, parents and siblings. He will be remembered as one of his generation’s most influential and inspiring Afrobeats artists.