On May 10, 2019, popular singer and songwriter Azeez Fashola, also known as Naira Marley was arrested alongside four other people, including popular rapper, Omoniyi Temidayo Rapheal–also known as Zlatan Ibile, and two others. The arrest came after the duo–Naira Marley and Zlatan Ibile, released the visuals to their song, “Am I a yahoo boy?” While EFCC released three of the young men arrested, Naira Marley was remanded under EFCC’s watch, in prison, until his first court hearing.
The singer was arraigned May 20, 2019, and was charged with 11 counts of conspiracy, possession of counterfeit cards, and fraud. He was eventually granted bail in the sum of 2 million naira and two surities, while his court hearing was adjourned till October 22, 23, and 24, for accelerated hearing. The second hearing, in sure pomp, also resulted in another adjournment, dated February 27, 2020
The singer and songwriter dropped a couple of hit songs on the wings of the new height of popularity he had gained due to his arrest. His first song after his release was “Soapy,” an immoral but widely accepted song. He soon became a cult figure, gathering over a million followers on Instagram and becoming the most searched name on Google at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020.
Unfortunately, the privileges he enjoys as a music star and grand celebrity may be cut short if he is found guilty by the court today. In a few hours, Naira Marley will face the law and if found guilty, he may be sent to seven years in prison. The question then is: What are his chances of escaping prison. According to the law, “Any person who uses: a counterfeit access device, an unauthorized access device; an access device issued to another person, resulting in a loss or gain commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than seven years or a fine of not more than 5,000,000.00 and forfeiture of value derived from his act.”
Therefore, if Naira Marley is found guilty, he may serve jail term of no more than seven years; however, he has the option of paying a fine. While the “option of fine” is in the fine print, the option to be fined is actually entirely up to the judge. This only means that if he is faced with a vindictive judge, he may very well be sent to prison without an option of fine.
Meanwhile, his friend and fellow rapper, Zlatan Ibile, has taken to social media via a Instagram live post to support him while his hearing looms.