At a time his contemporaries are involved in the nobility of expending their celebrity capital in mobilizing Nigerian youths to be involved in the 2023 electoral process, Damini Ogulu, aka Burna Boy, chose to make headlines for the wrong reason. And as is typical of him, the Grammy Award winner is not even apologetic about a misdemeanor that would have seen him cooling off his heels in custody if Nigeria was a better-run society.
Last Wednesday, police orderlies attached to Burna Boy opened fire at two fun-seekers namely Irebami Lawrence and another identified simply as Tolu at Club Cubana on Victoria Island, Lagos. According to a preliminary report released by the Bar Beach Police Division, Burna Boy and five police escorts visited the nightclub around 4am on June 8. While four policemen waited outside, the other identified as Inspector Ibrahim who was not on uniform, accompanied the popular Afro beat artiste into the club.
According to witness statements, the “African Giant” was in the VIP section with three ladies when he developed an interest in another woman. Trouble started after he reportedly told Ibrahim to invite the woman to join him. However, the lady’s husband was said to have lambasted the singer, insisting that it was disrespectful for any man to make advances at his wife right in his presence. Minutes later, Burna Boy reportedly made fresh advances at the woman. This infuriated her husband further and his friends who had gathered at the club.
Things got heated in a flash as Ibrahim was said to have brought out his service pistol and fired multiple shots with Burna Boy laughing amid the shooting. This resulted in Lawrence being hit in the thigh while his friend, Tolu, also sustained a gunshot wound. Without showing remorse or apologizing to the victims and their families, the next thing Burna could do was to hop on the next available flight to Spain, only to impenitently tell an enraged nation on Twitter yesterday that he won’t be surprised even if it was reported on social media that he started Boko Haram.
If the musician is by his tweet suggesting his innocence, why didn’t he stay back in the country to clear his name, particularly as the five police escorts who were with him when the incident happened have been detained? Pray, what example is this “yeyebrity” (as the blogosphere has since described Burna) showing to millions of those who see him as their idol? Given his status as a role model, humanity and civilization are endangered if every of Burna Boy’s fan acts as he did. These stars must realize that stardom comes with responsibilities, one of which is decorum and wearing their best behaviour at all times.
Recall that this is not the first time that the A-rated artiste is involved in acts of violence. On November 20, 2017, the police announced that Burna Boy was wanted for questioning over a robbery and assault incident on Mr 2Kay. In March 2021, was fingered in a fracas that occurred in another Lagos club, Quilox, with indigenous rapper, CDQ, who was also involved in the brawl, alleging that trouble started after Burna Boy disrespected veteran Nigerian footballer, Obafemi Martins.
Much more is definitely expected from Burna Boy who only recently was well received at the United Nations headquarters in New York and went on to sell out the Madison Square Garden in concert. Perhaps, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J Mohammed, was right to have tweeted at the time that “Burna continues to inspire young people around the world with his amazing talents” but definitely not with his character. There is everything demoralizing about the recent report on the singer’s misconduct at a Lagos nightclub. If it’s about being a mega star, Burna Boy needs to be reminded of West Ham’s defender, Kurt Zouma, who United Kingdom authorities arrested, fined and sentenced to do community work for “assaulting” his own animal, a cat. This singer who apparently isn’t as famous or richer than the footballer shouldn’t be too big to be reined in or see himself as above the law.
It’s time Burna stops acting like the Boy in his name and grows into a man, even if it means his parents getting a wife for him. We hope that settling down in marriage will restrain him from cuckolding another man’s wife. How more greedy can one get, in view of reports that Burna Boy had three ladies with him yet made advances at another man’s wife. This somewhat re-enacts the character flaw of biblical David, who despite his harem of wives still went after poor Uriah’s wife. Thankfully, there was no record of death in the club shoot-out, else the latest Burna episode would have been a reiteration of 2 Samuel 11.
It’s not too late for Burna Boy to show the same contriteness that King David showed when his sin was brought before him. While he’s at it, the law must take its course. The police must get to the root of the matter and see to it that justice is served. Operatives serving under the VIP Protection Protocol of the Force must do so in line with the standard operating procedures. Enough of them being used as tools of oppression and intimidation. The erring law enforcement officers must be made to face the police disciplinary committee and sanctioned accordingly if found culpable.
We demand a Nigeria where the high and mighty do not, and are not allowed to get away with abbreviating the rights and dignity of ordinary citizens. Celebrities must be mindful of the weighty responsibilities they shoulder and do better. Beyond relating with their prodigious talents, people should be able to relate with their persona and be inspired by the same. While relishing all the highs of being in the limelight, Burna must not forget that the twilight awaits every glittering career. The star musician should check the trajectory of those ahead of him and be soberer.
In order not to create the impression that might is right, Burna Boy should immediately apologize to the victims and his fans. Doing so will definitely not make Burna any less of the African giant he fancies himself to be. The celebrated artiste must understand that it is by being chivalrous and self-effacing that will make people Love Damini in the long run, not crass irresponsibility or despotism. In the main, i wishe a speedy recovery to those shot and expects “Odogwu” to pick up the bills for their medication.