Nigeria: Mysterious Death of Afrobeats Idol Stirs Outrage

Late singer MohBad.
22 September 2023

The late Ilerioluwa Aloba, better known as MohBad, was one of the Afrobeats genre's rising stars. Nigerian fans have taken to the streets, seeking answers for his death at a Lagos hospital under vague circumstances.

The death of a prominent Afrobeats singer and rapper has stirred outrage in Nigeria, after he died mysteriously last week.

Thousands of Nigerians on Thursday demonstrated across the country to seek answers for the passing of the late Ilerioluwa Aloba, who performed under the moniker MohBad. The 27-year-old was confirmed dead on September 13.

What do we know so far?

Aloba was taken in at a Lagos hospital for an unknown illness, he later died under unclear circumstances. Nigerian authorities said they exhumed his body on Thursday amid calls for a probe into the death.

A candlelight vigil took place in Lagos late Thursday, after similar remembrance events in other parts of the country.

In addition, fans on social media have called for justice for MohBad.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu tweeted Thursday that he was "not oblivious to the sad passing" of Aloba.

"I have instructed that all those who may have played any role whatsoever in any event leading to the death of MohBad be made to face the law after a thorough investigation," Sanwo-Olu said. He also urged "all friends and fans of the deceased to stay calm and refrain from making inflammatory utterances and reaching prejudicial conclusions on this matter."

Aloba's mother says popular Nigerian singer tied to son's death

Aloba, known for songs such as "Feel Good" and "Peace," was a rising star in the Afrobeats genre. He first came to prominence in 2019, and was signed on to the influential record label of Nigerian singer Naira Marley.

Aloba departed Marley's record label in 2022 after a falling out with the singer. According to Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust, Aloba's mother Promise Aloba believes Naira Marley is "connected to her son's death."

"I know my son, he told me that Naira Marley usually threatened him," Promise Aloba said, according to the paper. "Please Nigerians help me to look for him; please have mercy on me; that is all you can do for me."

Marley's label has rebuked the allegations, with Naira Marley referring to Aloba as a brother.

"No family is perfect, families have disagreement, but no harm whatsoever was wished on MohBad. So many things left unsaid but the love was always there," the Malian Records label posted on social media.

Afrobeats gains popularity around the world

The Afrobeats genre first emerged in the 2000s in Nigeria, with an Afrobeats scene also present in Ghana and the UK. Popular Afrobeats artists include Wizkid, Burna Boy and Davido, all from Nigeria.

Afrobeats takes the inspiration for its name from Afrobeat, a genre which came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s. Afrobeat, which mixes West African musical styles along with funk and jazz, was made popular by Nigerian artist Fela Kuti.

wd/rs (AFP, AP, Reuters)

AllAfrica publishes around 500 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.