Social media has been on a roll since the arrest of the Nigerian celebrity artiste, Azeez Fashola a.k.a. ‘Naira Marley’. It all started a few weeks ago when the singer was allegedly accused (on social media) of partaking in and promoting ‘internet fraud’ a.k.a. ‘yahoo’.
These allegations seemed to arise after his online rift with singer, Simi, who had stated publicly that she did not want yahoo boys using their money to buy her songs. After the back and forth on social media, and in the midst of all the allegations online, singer, Naira Marley followed all the drama online with a hit song – ‘Am I a Yahoo Boy?’ – featuring his ally, Zlatan. Soon enough, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was on the trail of this story and began to look into Marley’s case. Allegedly, according to them, the internet has a lot of proof that the singer has indeed taken part in these acts, after which they set out to bring 11 charges against the afrobeat artiste.
Naira Marley has since been arrested and even charged to court, and just like that, what seemed to be a simple social media battle, swiftly turned into a real criminal case. This interesting story has stirred up separate parties on social media. Those who believe he is innocent and should be free, and those who believe he is guilty and should be incarcerated. The hashtag ‘#FreeMarley’ has even become popular.
Whilst the anti #FreeMarley crew are throwing tantrums, asking why a fraudster should be released, the pro #FreeMarley gang believe that there is absolutely no cause for his arrest because simply expressing support for ‘yahoo boys’ does not in any way give the government a probable cause to arrest him – making this a denial to his freedom of expression.
The singer was taken into custody on his birthday, released and then taken into custody yet again, and also appeared in court on Monday.
So, in this case of ‘Social media battle turned criminal case’ who do you support? Should Naira Marley be freed and allowed to go back exercising his freedom of speech? or would releasing him be an encouragement to other ‘yahoo boys’ to keep doing what they do best? Let us know in the comments below.