Up-and-coming artistes, Afeez Fashola (aka Naira Marley) and Temidayo Omoniyi (aka Zlatan Ibile), who were arrested on Friday morning by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission in connection with alleged cases of internet fraud and money laundering, were still in detention on Sunday evening.
The EFCC’s acting Head, Media and Publicity, Tony Orilade, in an interview with our correspondent, confirmed that the artistes had not been released. Orilade said, “They are still with us as we are talking.” Asked if the singers would spend the weekend in custody, he said, “They are still with us. When they are released, I will let you know.”
The EFCC arrested the singers based on “intelligence report” allegedly linking them to cybercrime offences. The commission said the artistes were apprehended along with three other suspects, Tiamiu Abdulrahman, Adewunmi Adeyanju and Musa Abubakar, following an early morning raid at 9, Gbangbola Street, Ikate, Lekki, Lagos.
A statement by the EFCC had said, “At the point of arrest, the commission recovered a number of items, including laptops from the suspects. They have so far volunteered information about their involvement in the alleged criminal activities, even as investigations continue.” The commission last year launched Operation Cyber Storm to curb the activities of internet fraudsters.
Over 150 suspects have been reportedly arrested across the country. Naira Marley last week released a song titled ‘Am I a Yahoo Boy?’, which sparked controversy on social media. Following the release, veteran rapper, Michael Ugochukwu Stephens, popularly known as Ruggedman, in a video that went viral last week, criticised the song. Naira Marley responded to the criticism in an Instagram Live video ridiculing Ruggedman. However, the rap artiste stated that he had to express his opinion about Naira Marley’s comments because they had rubbed off on other musicians in Nigeria. He also said he had his brand to protect, adding that he could not watch someone else “drag his name and brand in the mud”.
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