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 I helped E-money kidnap rich people but he left me poor –Suspect arrested

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A suspect, Ifeanyi Asiegbuelam, has narrated how he helped the late billionaire kidnapper, Collins Ezenwa, popularly known as E-money, to kidnap many rich people from the South-East, especially in Imo and Abia states.
However, Asiegbuelam, 32, lamented that despite aiding Ezenwa to perpetrate the crimes, he did not make him rich.
Ezenwa, a dismissed police corporal, was killed in January 2018 during a gun duel with policemen attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Imo State Police Command when he attempted to kidnap a South-African-based Nigerian businessman in Owerri.

More than 13 buildings including a hotel, belonging to the late kidnapper were reportedly traced by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team to Abia, Imo and Enugu states, while seven cars, two SUVs, one Hilux truck, a commercial bus, two tipper-lorries and a trailer belonging to him were also recovered from several locations within the South-East.
Asiegbuelam, who was arrested recently by policemen in Cross Rivers State and handed over to IRT operatives, claimed that he met E-money, who was killed alongside two other gang members, five years before he joined the Nigeria Police Force.

He said they were both motorcycle operators in Owerri before E-money joined the police.
Speaking to City Round during the week, Asiegbuelam, a primary school dropout from Atah town, Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, said he lost his father while he was young and later had to live with his uncle in the North.
After some years, the suspect said he returned to Owerri to become a commercial motorcyclist.
He said, “Few years into the trade, I met E-money in Owerri and he was also an okada rider at the time. E-money and I became very close friends.
“We did the job for five years before he joined the police. He asked me to join him but I told him I had no school certificate. He went ahead to join the police and started driving police vehicles around Owerri.”
Asiegbuelam said after a while, he stopped seeing E-money in town and that later in 2017, he heard that E-money had travelled out of the country.

He said, “But a few weeks later in the same year, he showed up in my house in a dark-tinted Toyota Prado SUV, and there he invited me to join his kidnapping enterprise. On the first operation I went with him, we drove to Okigwe, where we kidnapped a man in his car.
 “We accosted the vehicle and dragged the man out of the vehicle and took him into our own vehicle; then we zoomed off. E-money then asked me to blindfold the victim and when we got close to my town, E-money asked to come down from his SUV and he gave me N50,000. I didn’t question him and he drove the man away. I didn’t know where he took the man to, number of days the man spent with him, how he negotiated and collected his ransom.”

The suspect said he escaped to a bush on the day E-money was killed by the police, adding that he stayed in Owerri for two months after the incident.
He said, “Then I got a call from Ugo, who kept one of E-money’s rifles and we formed a new gang. But on our first operation, we had trouble. Some policemen accosted us and a shootout ensued. Ugo’s friend was killed. Ugo escaped but Chimobi and I were arrested. Chimobi sustained a bullet wound in the process and we were kept in an open-cell in handcuffs. I wouldn’t know how Chimobi got the keys to our handcuffs and we escaped again from police custody.

“I ran to Port Harcourt and stayed there for more than one year; then I moved to Calabar when I felt the police were closing in on me in Port Harcourt. I lived in Calabar for seven months with a friend who I met in Port Harcourt and we worked on a farm. I was arrested in my friend’s house and taken to Owerri before I was brought back to Lagos and handed over to the IRT. It was after my last arrest that I realised that E-money made so much money from our business and left me a poor man begging for money.” 

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2021 memorable moments

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2021 like its predecessor (2020) was an eventful year through and through, from the advent of the streaming platform, Spotify, to the breath-taking world tours of two of Africa’s finest, Burna Boy and Wizkid, thanks to limiting the hardcore COVID-19 restrictions worldwide, to “Essence” and “Love Nwantiti” takeover and many more. This is a recap of some notable moments of 2021 in the Nigerian music industry. 

Spotify in Nigeria:

 Spotify, one of the most used digital streaming platforms (DSPs) since its invention in 2006 in Sweden, finally made its grand entry into the Nigerian space on 23 February 2021 but streaming commenced in early March. Apart from its appealing UI/UX design, it edges over its competitors like Apple Music and Audiomack in all or some of the below stated reasons: 
Spotify provides real-time information on the number of streams of songs and the average monthly listeners of the artists.
The built-in podcast feature also gives it an edge over its various competitions. Apart from the available podcasts which can be found on other podcast streaming platforms, Spotify also provides exclusives, available only in the app, financially supporting the hosts of these exclusively owned podcasts. 
The Spotify annual Wrappedgives a more detailed insight into what each listener has been up to year-round, not only his/her most listened songs, albums, artistes and hours spent listening to music, it goes further to dive into genre breakdown of each listener and provides a listener-to-the-world-listenership, a primetime comparison in percentage as to where the listener stands in streaming their favourite artiste(s) and song(s), etc.
In less than 3 months, Spotify was able to amass thousands of streams and subscribers in the country, even having those who used other services switching to theirs in the blink of an eye. What a nice investment, a profitable one at that.

Essence Global Acceptance:

Wizkid and Temshad a surreal year in 2021. Not that Wizkid’s stance on the music scene was not acclaimed pre-2021 but thanks to the commercial success of track 11 off of 2020 released “Made In Lagos” album, it helped elevate his status and introduced the already blooming talent, Tems, to the world’s music stage.
Yes, the foresight of Wizkid to have tweeted that he and Tems created magic months before the song’s release should have given fans a clue into what he had planned for the mid-tempo pop song but no one could have predicted it magically transforming into the wonderful track that it is today; fast forward to June 2021, Essence became the world’s favourite song, even being tipped as the ‘Song of the Summer’. 
Not only is the “You don’t need no other body” chorus well-known and publicly hollered at festivals, shows, concerts, parties, clubs, and so forth but we need no other body to tell us how grand the track is, breaking records almost every other day. The remix with Pop superstar, Justin Bieber, assisted it to become the first song by an African act to debut on the Billboard Hot 200 top 10, peaking at No. 9.
The certifications of Essence is mind-blowing: Gold in Canada and New Zealand, Silver in the United Kingdom, and Platinum in the USA (to name a few), in essence, becoming the Nigerian song African originated song to go Platinum in the States, selling 1 million copies; Essence nomination for the newly carved “Best Global Music Performance”for the 2022 Grammy Awards is a nice icing to the delectable hotcake the song is.

Fireboy DML’s Peru Record-breaking Year: 

When R&B star, Fireboy DML, said on the Afro-fusion track—Peru: “Wo ni won wa mi”, translated to “I’m being sought after” or “They are looking for me” in English, he was not lying. Immediately Peru dropped, it almost immediately became a fan favourite due to its easy-to-learn lyrics and enigmatic third verse which drew a lot of comparison to Wande Coal’s vocal texture.
Peru provided Fireboy DML with his first-ever No. 1 on the 
Nigerian Apple Music Top 100 and iTunes, it peaked at No. 1 on the UK Afrobeats Chart, eventually breaking the record as the song to have spent the most weeks at the summit of the chart, 4 weeks in total; the remix with global music icon, Ed Sheeran was released on Christmas Eve and immediately rose to the peak position on the UK Apple Music Top 100, becoming the first-ever Nigerian song to achieve such feat.
To think of the fact that Peru would have remained in the hard drive, never to be released until Fireboy’s label honcho, Olamide, took matters into his hands and leaked the song is still mind-boggling to date. A record-breaking year for Peru and Fireboy DML at large!

Love Nwantiti Resurgence: 

2021 was undoubtedly one of the best years for Nigerian music traversing to an international audience. The mysterious humming buzzing “Ahh, ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah” sound by CKay proves that distinctly. Allow me to explain.
Never in the history of the African music industry, probably the world’s, have a song released 2 years prior (2019), and its remix a year after (2020) trended as Love Nwantiti did, having the whole world at a chokehold. Thanks to TikTokand human’s inquisitive nature which transcended to the song being looked on Shazam, Love Nwantitiresurgence became a global phenom in the global music mainstream.
The streaming numbers are ridiculous! On Spotify alone, Love Nwantiti is the most streamed Afrobeat song, occupying the Top 2 spots via its original and DJ Yo! &AX’EL (remix) versions. The certifications CKayaccumulate because of Love Nwantiti’sgrandeur is too many to count but to state a few: 2X Platinum in Canada, Platinum in Portugal, Gold in the UK, Austria, Australia, and Spain. Not forgetting that each official music video shoot for the original and its many remixes crossed the 50M views mark on YouTube. 
What a comeback Love Nwantitihad in 2021, a beautiful sight to behold. A win for the “Afrobeat to the world” mantra and African music as a collective. 

Burna Boy’s World Tour

Arrogant, proud, egotistical, boastful, and many more qualifiers are available to describe the personality of Ogulu Damini—popularly known as Burna Boy. But one can’t deny that he makes great music. And in 2021, the African Giant went as far as expressing himself, his art, and his music on International stages. 
Burna Boy came packed. Each show came with its tale, its own definition. From stepping out of a spaceship to his irresistible performances on stage, his flow with the melodies and harmonies of the live band, to the transitioning from one hit song to another, Burna Boy brought it all. From the sold-out show in the O2 Arena in London to selling out a 20,000 capacity in Bercy, France, having the people of Stockholm sing word for word his song, Burna Boy made sure the world heard him, see him and know him. 

Amaarae x Moliy

Known for her otherworldly voice and her calm likewise soothing type of songs she makes, Amaarae has fast become one of the most promising female acts on the African continent. In 2021, The Ghanaian act went as far as breaking into the Billboard Hot 100 alongside countrywoman Moliy and Kali Uchis with the remix of her amazing song ‘Sad Gurlz Luv Money’. The song peaked at no.80 on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first female Afrobeats act to debut a solo single on the chart. 

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Wizkid is Africa’s Apple Music Artist of the Year award recipient for 2021

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Wizkid (sobriquet Big Wiz or StarBoy) receives the honour as Apple Music Artist of the Year (Africa) for 2021. The annual award held by the premier streaming platform praises individual artites for having a stellar year on its music platform both through streams and culturally.

On Wizkid winning, an excerpt from Apple Music reads: ” In October 2020, he released “Made in Lagos,” his critically acclaimed and most commercially successful album, which included his hit song “Essence,” a track that gained 125 million plays on Apple Music and over 2.8 million Shazams. This past year, he’s been the most streamed African artist on the continent on Apple Music and ranked on the Daily Top 100 charts in 60 countries, in addition to his monthly plays on Apple Music growing by more than 250 percent outside of Africa.”

“Thank you to Apple Music for this award”, Wizkid said, continuing, “It’s a blessing to get to do what I do, and I’m proud to be representing for Africa.”, Ayodeji “Wizkid” Balogun says in thank you speech. The Apple Music Award, the third annual series will air on Apple Music and Apple TV starting Tuesday, December 7, 2021.

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