From Lagos to London: The death of an afrobeats star sparks global outrage

Protestors are determined to find out the singer's cause of death. Credit: AP

By Aaron Benzoe, ITV News Assistant News Editor

Memorials for an afrobeats star have been held in London and across the globe as protestors in Nigeria demand answers for his death.

MohBad, a 27-year-old singer whose real name was Ilerioluwa Aloba, died in a Lagos hospital on Tuesday, September 12.

A husband and father of a five-month-old, MohBad was loved for his distinctive baritone voice and known for hit singles KPK (Kor Pe Ke) featuring Rexxie, and Ponmo featuring Lil Kesh and Naira Marley.

But his cause of death is unknown, leading to an outpouring of grief as crowds paid tribute in the UK, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Thousands have paid tribute to the star in Lagos, Nigeria. Credit: AP

Protestors are determined to find out what led to MohBad's death.

On Thursday, mourners were tear gassed after a memorial concert held in Lagos by the Lekki toll gate, and the police said they were blocking traffic on a major highway.

Many of the mourners wore white T-shirts and held candles or mobile phone torches aloft as they danced to the songs of the late artist.

Music stars such as Davido, Falz, and Zlatan, along with Nollywood movie celebrities, shared their memories of the singer with the audience.

Scenes in Lagos, Nigeria, after the death of MohBad. Credit: AP

On Friday, tributes for the singer were held in Woolwich, south-east London, as well as Deansgate in Manchester, as fans gathered to show their respects.

This followed the previous procession in Peckham square, south London, where many sang joyfully to the artist’s lyrics to honour MohBad’s memory.

The singer called himself Imole which means “light” in Yoruba, a Nigerian language.

Lagos authorities have exhumed the singer's body and ordered an autopsy in an ongoing investigation.

Across social media, there remains a lot of speculation on his death - but no update has been provided yet.

The hashtag #justiceformohbad has been trending since his death.

Some are angry and suggested that the singer was bullied within the music industry after his falling out last year with Marlian Records, a record label owned by musician Naira Marley.

Benjamin Hundeyin from the Lagos Police responded to the speculation and the tear gassing incident on Thursday in a series of tweets.

“The Lagos State Police Command is fully aware of false narratives making the rounds in relation to the dispersal of crowds at the Lekki Toll Gate yesterday, September 21, 2023.

"It is instructive to note that the Lagos State Police Command, as promised, (has) been interfacing closely and regularly with all meaningful support groups of #justiceformohbad.

"This synergy shall be sustained while the general public are assured that they would be continually updated on the progress of the investigation."

Celebrities from the US have shown their support on social media - rappers such as Lil Durk, Meek Mill, and Kodak Black have paid tribute to the Nigerian star.

Afrobeat star Bella Shmurda and Nigerian Nollywood actress Shaffy Bello led a candle light procession in Canada.

Bella spoke about his close friendship with the singer and how shocked he was when he heard the news.

"He is my brother, he is my best friend, he is my guy... When I left Nigeria I got a call that MohBad is dead.

"RIP MohBad. God bless you wherever you are. I don't know what to say but thank you everyone for coming."

He ended his speech chanting "justice for MohBad".

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