The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested two fast-rising artistes, Afeez Fashola (aka Naira Marley) and Temidayo Omoniyi (aka Zlatan), on Friday, in connection with alleged cases of Internet fraud and money laundering.
The EFCC acting Head, Media and Publicity, Tony Orilade, in a statement, said intelligence report had also linked them to cybercrime offences.
Orilade added that the artistes were arrested along with three other suspects, Tiamiu Abdulrahman, Adewunmi Adeyanju and Musa Abubakar, following an early morning raid at 9, Gbangbola Street, Ikate, Lekki, Lagos.
“At the point of arrest, the Commission found and recovered a number of items, including laptops from the suspects. They have so far volunteered useful information about their involvement in the alleged criminal activities, even as investigations continue,” the statement said.
The EFCC last year launched Operation Cyber Storm which sought to curb the activities of Internet fraudsters.
Over 150 suspects have been reportedly arrested across the country.
…Marley should insult me to my face if he’s man enough –Ruggedman
Meanwhile, veteran rapper, Micheal Ugochukwu Stephens, popularly known as Ruggedman, was recently engaged in a war of words with Naira Marley. The rift started after Ruggedman expressed his opinion on how he felt Naira Marley was misleading the public with his position on cybercrime.
Marley had earlier shared a video in which he stated that cybercrime wasn’t a sin. This video generated a lot of controversy on the Internet. Apart from Ruggedman, some celebrities have also expressed their displeasure with his opinion.
However, in an interview with Saturday Beats, the rap artiste said he had to express his opinion about Marley’s comments because it had rubbed off on other musicians in Nigeria. He added that he had his brand to protect and couldn’t watch someone else rub his name and brand in the mud.
“I gave my opinion about Naira Marley’s message on fraud because fraud is obviously a criminal act. It is outrageous for any young artiste to come out and publicly say it is not a crime. Aside from the fact that I am a veteran in the music industry,
I’m older than he is so I have to caution such remarks. If I don’t, it has the ability to ruin the whole community because after his comments, many people began to say that all musicians are into fraud.
“I cannot sit down and watch all the years of hard work I used to build my brand as Ruggedman go down the drain; it’s making everyone in the music industry look like a fraudster. That was why I spoke out,” he said.
Reacting to being called an ‘old book’ on the shelf in the Nigerian music industry, Ruggedman noted that there was nothing being said on social media that could move him emotionally.
“And about insulting me; it is a free world on social media; it is a different case if he can say it to my face. I am not a keyboard gangster; I do stuff in the real world. I only use social media to promote my music and people who are in need. If anyone has issues with me; if they are man enough to face me, then they should. What people say on social media doesn’t matter to me as long as it won’t tarnish my image. I want everyone to know that if Naira Marley is saying fraud is not a crime; he is on his own. No young artiste should try to justify or glorify crime,” he added.
Marley, while criticising Ruggedman, had further accused him of sleeping with a friend, 9ice’s wife. But reacting to the comments, Ruggedman said, “It is old ‘gist’, and it never happened; when people don’t have anything concrete to add to someone’s life after they’ve messed up, they just pick on anything they feel would hurt you. For somebody that doesn’t know anything about 9ice or me to come out and say anything is childish. I understand; I’m not about that.
“I have never met him before; if I see him, I probably would not know him. I don’t think we roll in the same circles. He doesn’t owe me anything, he owes the country; it has nothing to do with me. It doesn’t do anything to my image it’s his up-and-coming image that has issues now,” he said.