Naira Marley inciting the police for relevance. How long will it last?

Naira Marley

Since making his 2019 controversial statement about how Nigerians should pray for cyber criminals, Naira Marley has built a heavy rotation of media sensation around himself, his ideas, and his kind of music. Naira Marley’s disruptive music is an extension of his raunchy lifestyle which has gone a long way in building him a community of loyal fans.

Naira, over the years, has made comments that supports rebellion and the need for utmost self-expression which many young adults have bought into. Depending on how you look at it, some of his ideas are echoes of what some people are just afraid to talk about and bring to life. Naira is not afraid of going against authorities, speaking his mind without a censor and shattering the walls around certain status quos.

Like many before him who have spoken against hypocrisy, challenged authorities and the status quo, the attention of the authorities have always followed him. Naira has successfully established a relationship with the police over the years, one that is fraught with one controversy after another following his arrest in 2019 for internet and card fraud.

In a recent update, the singer was reported to be in police custody months after breaching COVID-19 guidelines on public gatherings. Naira Marley alongside some other celebrities and his crew members in June, performed at a concert in Abuja despite the ban on gatherings and events of more than 20 persons in the country.

Naira Marley immediately made the headlines after videos surfaced online showing him boarding an airplane at a time interstate travels were banned and later mingled with fans during the music concert. The event sparked outrage on social media as many debated his audacity in organizing a physical concert. It would be interesting to note that Naira had shared his deposition against the COVID-19 from the time a lockdown was imposed across three epicenter states (Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun) in Nigeria.

According to Marley, the COVID-19 is a scam and government’s ploy to rip Nigerians and sink Nigerians deep in poverty’. This will not be the first time Naira will be making a statement targeted at criticizing the government and policies. He has come to understand his audience and he has garnered that he has been seen as ‘that face of rebellion’, which begs the question, will Naira Marley ever agree to any government policies?

The episode from the concert progressed in a series of banter between the rebellious actors, the CEO of Executive Jets Services Limited, Sam Iwuajoku, and the COVID-19 task force with social media being the audience that enjoyed every bit. However, in the latest installment, Naira has bagged the title of an ex-convict after pleading guilty to the one-count charge against him even as bail was set at one hundred thousand naira.

On Twitter, Nigerians are questioning the timing of his plea to the charges as debates are flying on how Naira has constantly used controversy to fuel his ideas with the Nigeria Police being his play toy in staying relevant.

Marley is not a stranger to controversies, and this is not the first time he will be having an altercation with the police with a turmoil he instigated by himself and it somehow appears that the artist enjoys the attention and the buzz that follows him in periods like this.

A few Nigerians have shared that the attention given to him by the police is one thing that has promoted the singer and placed him in the position he is now. This, in no way, trivializes the street anthems he has churned out, and caused an uprising amongst fans who can boldly declare they are Marlians. But if you are constantly in the news for clashing with authorities with diminishing focus on artistry, then it’s ostensibly a strategy right out from the publicity playbook.



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