(News investigators) If issues are treated with the sense of urgency and importance they get in the court of public opinion compared to the conventional court of law, Nigeria might stand a chance of being a better place. The court of public opinion is unorganized and loud. It entails vigilantism and it follows trends. With due respect, opinions here hardly count on legal grounds. Whereas, the court of law which is supposed to uphold the rule of law in situations of distress, has become more vulnerable than a person battling extreme learning disability and autism.
I have followed the untimely demise of singer Mohbad since the drama ensued, and from the beginning, one needs no binoculars to see how it ends, except if the person is a foreigner. The principal actors are Azeez Fashola aka Naira Marley, Samson Erinfolami Balogun popularly known as Sam Larry, and on the periphery, Zinoleesky (Oniyide Azeez).
Below are the reasons why Naira Marley and Sam Larry might go scot-free despite the massive allegations against them:
(1) Nigerian factor:
Nigeria is not the easiest place to pursue justice against an influential figure. This is because certain individuals are stronger than the institutions in the state. This is supposed to be vice versa. Influential people are more connected than you can imagine, and they just find their way around their travails. If Senator Ike Ekweremadu (serving a jail term in the UK for organ trafficking) had erred on Nigerian soil, do you think he would have been convicted? The answer is no. Doesn’t it beggar belief that Naira Marley – a proud ambassador of marijuana and a rumoured drug peddler is the face of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA? Anything is possible as long as Nigeria is concerned.
An industry that is booming in Nigeria, especially in Lagos State is the industry of thuggery and hooliganism. This is due to the nature of our politics. Our politics is extremely combative in nature. Our democracy is a decoy to give a resemblance of legitimacy to handpicked public office holders. It is a system where the violent and the crooked win the game by force, without adhering to the rules of the game. So the politicians hire thugs during the general elections and political crises. This accounts for why popular thugs are doing better than doctors, engineers, lawyers, IT personnel, entrepreneurs, and other top professionals. With Sam Larry being reportedly linked with some ruling elites, I see them secretly bailing him out when the current thick smoke subsides.
(3) No Evidence:
Like the singer Burna Boy said; “without evidence, you go explain tire”
Naira Marley and Sam Larry (prime suspect) have bullied, tortured, and victimized Mohbad courtesy of some of the videos available on social media. But on the contrary, none of the videos prove they directly murdered him. People are just driven by emotions which is understandable. One of the major catalysts of the #JusticeForMohbad movement – GistLover Blog claims that the deceased friend named PrimeBoy hit him with a charm during a fight. According to the blogger, PrimeBoy was a turncoat who was a loyalist of Naira Marley and Sam Larry. PrimeBoy has since laid the accusations to rest with a timely video statement. Can you tender black magic in court as evidence? This seems like a story for the gods. The nurse who reportedly injected Mohbad and his friends who took him to the hospital are all closer to jail than the prime suspects.
(4) Cultural factor:
Rumours have it that Naira Marley is peddling drugs. Others say he is a cultist. These allegations constitute the average lifestyle of a typical Nigerian musician. Rapper Olamide in one of his songs called his colleagues ‘Science Students’, mixing hard/bad substances together and we danced to the song. Nobody paused to think about the reality of the lyrics of the song. Other music artistes also rap about gang violence and drugs. Drugs, alcoholism, promiscuity, internet fraud, gangsterism, and all manners of civil disobedience are the cultural attributes of the Nigerian music industry. The only difference right now is that the monster we created is asking for a human head for dinner.
(5) Our judiciary:
If this case gets to court as expected, I suspect it might drag longer than the arms deal trial of the former NSA, Sambo Dasuki over alleged $2 billion fraud. Is anybody still talking about it? Justice is always delayed in Nigeria, as long as you have the resources to get the best lawyers who exploit the lacunas in the Nigerian judicial system. Over time, people will move on to other issues. Sam Larry might enter into a plea bargain with investigators for bullying and harassment. He could eventually get a slap on the wrist. Naira Marley can also wiggle out of this in some way unscathed. Bribery and corruption can also play a key role in the outcome of this criminal case. If politicians can procure court injunctions, other wealthy people can also replicate that.
(6) The court of public opinion is misleading:
Due to the problems of social conformity, bandwagoning, and groupthink, people tend to abandon their sense of reasoning to follow the popular trend. This is done for the sake of acceptance. Most times, the popular road has proven to be the wrong direction. Remember when a section of the country believed former President Muhammadu Buhari was dead, and replaced by one body-double named Jubril Al Sudani from Sudan? They also believed Buhari’s school leaving certificate didn’t exist. On the entertainment end, many also believed rapper Ruggedman slept with Toni Payne (the ex-wife of singer 9ice). I can go on and on. These were just mere trends that didn’t have the legs to stand the test of time. When a concrete investigative structure is set, all these hearsays and rumours evaporate.
In conclusion, I am not a fan of Naira Marley and I will never be. I apologize if my reader feels I have sounded like one or probably my article is insensitive. I am just trying to play the devil’s advocate here and wake people up to smell the coffee. By law, Naira Marley and Sam Larry are deemed innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.
I believe Naira Marley has seen the worst already. He is scalded for the rest of his life. I assume his musical career is already over. He was a setting sun before now anyway. This ordeal might also blacklist his record label and other business engagements he might also have in the entertainment industry. I think it might require genuine spiritual intervention for Naira Marley to reclaim his spot in the music industry again. He has always ‘enjoyed’ the Black Sheep identity, but this time around, he will have to ‘endure’ it. The decision of the court will not alter the public perception of him because Nigerians never had faith in the judiciary.