No, Nigerian musician Ebenezer Obey not dead

Rumours that Nigerian musician Ebenezer Obey had died in London started circulating on social media on 4 July 2020.

“RIP Ebenezer Obey dies just now in London. We Lost a Legend,” reads one widely shared and commented-on Facebook post.

“Credible sources are telling me that veteran singer Ebenezer Obey may have died in London today. I am trying to confirm that this is NOT an internet rumour,” a Twitter user said.

But has the chief commander of Nigeria’s juju music really died?

The juju legend

The singer, bandleader, composer and guitarist Ebenezer Remilekun Obey-Fabiyi was born on 3 April 1942.

Since the 1960s, Obey has released more than 50 albums and performed across the world. He is seen as one of the pioneers of juju music, a genre particularly popular among Yoruba people in Nigeria and across West Africa. 

‘Hale and hearty’

Soon after the rumour went viral, several credible news organisations refuted reports that the musician had died – as did Obey himself.

“I give thanks to God almighty! I am hale and hearty … I am fine,” he said in a video posted on YouTube on 4 July.  

The next day, Obey’s eldest son also confirmed that his father was alive and well.

He joins a list of Nigerian celebrities who have had to debunk false reports of their death. Luckily, this one is also untrue. – David Ajikobi

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