Legal Drama, Music Business

Involuntary Manslaughter? Davido further implicated in Tagbo’s death #Tagbo


A few days ago, Nollywood actress Caroline Danjuma took to social media to accuse Davido of what seemed like the killing of their mutual friend Tagbo Umeike. (Danjuma has now revealed Tagbo was her boyfriend). While Danjuma did not use the explicit word “kill”, she implicitly created the impression that Davido killed Tagbo. In her initial statement, Danjuma stated that Tagbo died in Davido’s car. She also claimed that Tagbo was not a heavy drinker and could not have possibly died of alcohol poison, as was alleged.  She concluded there was wrong-doing among Davido and his crew, and equally worse claimed that after the alleged wrong-doing, Davido and his crew dumped Tagbo’s body at a local hospital and ran away. Her allegations placed Davido in the category of an accomplice to an alleged murder of Tagbo. I delved into that legal commentary and discussion here and explained why Danjuma was very reactionary in her responses, and her hearsay statements most likely defamatory towards Davido.

Now, Danjuma follows up with more hearsay in an exclusive interview she granted to the Stella Dimoko Korkus Blog. In the interview, Danjuma opens up with initially denying that she in anyway identifies Davido as Tagbo’s killer. However, that does not stop her from still and further implicating Davido for the killing of Tagbo, this time, for involuntary manslaughter.

Below is the specific statement she made that implicitly and explicitly infers that Davido and his crew may have unintentionally killed Tagbo due to their recklessness and criminal negligence.


“*Breaks down crying so interview had to wait*

After we (heard) that Tagbo’s body was in Lagos Island Davido’s crew refused to give any info. and this was about past 7 pm. I contacted someone who remembers seeing Davido and Tagbo and DNA and remembers there was a fight. This person also told me there was a bet and said the same thing my neighbour said but said 30 shots and not 50. (Danjuma’s neighbor, according to Danjuma, said Tagbo had agreed to a bet where he would drink 50 shots of tequila in exchange for 200,000.00. It is unclear whether he was allegedly drinking for 200,000 Naira or dollars.)

According to what was said, Tagbo drank the tequila and got intoxicated and wanted to drive his car but Davido refused and said Tagbo should drive with him…that was what I heard and that they drove to G12 beach and got out leaving Tagbo in the car all locked up and that one of the crew members came back saw Tagbo gasping for air…this was the info. they spread out there from a supposed eyewitness.

He was taken to general hospital where he was confirmed dead and they left him there…

We went there with Nabila and Mary who can confirm what was said…We were told that he was dumped and those who brought him ran away…”

Ms. Uduak’s Legal Commentary and Analysis

Under Nigerian law, homicide is the killing of a human being. The killing of a human being is unlawful unless such killing is authorized or justified or excused by law. Under the law, there are two classes of unlawful killings: a) murder and b) manslaughter. The circumstances surrounding the death determines its classification as murder vs. manslaughter.

For a killing to be classified as murder, there has to be either an intent to kill a person i.e. malice aforethought, an intent to cause great bodily injury to the person killed, reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life, or intent to commit a felony, among other factors.

Manslaughter, on the other hand,  is an unlawful killing of a human being without the malice aforethought. There are two classifications: voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter is the intentional killing of someone  with adequate provocation i.e. in the “heat of passion.” For example, let’s take you walk in on your man or woman having sex with someone else. You get really angry, lose it, start beating up the person they are cheating on you with and kill that person. That would be voluntary manslaughter. You killed that person in the “heat of passion.”

Involuntary manslaughter, in contrast, is the unintentional killing of a human being as a result of reckless or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act (misdemeanor or felony that does not qualify as a felony murder case).

Zooming in on the criminal negligence part of involuntary manslaughter which is directly relevant to our discussion, a prosecutor must show the following elements to get a conviction of involuntary manslaughter (criminal negligence):

  1. That somebody was killed as a result of a defendant’s action. In this case, Danjuma’s claim is that Tagbo was killed as a result of Davido and his crew’s actions. She claims that an eyewitness said Davido insisted Tagbo drive with Davido because Tagbo was too intoxicated to drive. However, Davido and his crew drove to the beach. They locked the car and left Tagbo in it. When they returned, Tagbo was gasping for air and died.
  2. That the defendant’s action was inherently dangerous or was done with reckless disregard for human life. In this case, would a reasonable person seeing how intoxicated Tagbo was from allegedly drinking 30-50 shots of tequila have taken Tagbo to the hospital, his home, or to the beach? If a reasonable person would have taken Tagbo to the beach, would he/she lock the car in a Nigerian hot weather, leave and go continue partying with their other friends?
  3. That the defendant knew or should have known the defendant’s conduct was a threat to the lives of others. In this case, the argument Danjuma and others have already started making is that Davido and his crew knew or should have known that their actions were a threat to the life of Tagbo. As we all now know, Tagbo is in fact dead.

Again, these set of facts are all around very bad for all involved.

What needs to happen in this case:

  1. Danjuma needs to stop giving interviews sharing hearsay statements. She wasn’t there and she doesn’t know what truly happened. I realize Tagbo, based on her new interview, was her boyfriend but all she is sharing is hearsay and it is very damaging to Davido. As an aside, the continuous problem with the Nigerian entertainment industry is that everyone, especially the celebrities are deeply reactionary and fiery. When situations like these occur, the majority take to social media to react rather than take rational steps in involving the appropriate agency, the police, to help investigate sensitive cases like these with far-reaching consequences.
  2. The Chief of Police needs to delegate and order his staff and investigators to preserve evidence, identify suspects, talk to witnesses and get down to the root of what happened.
  3. Witnesses should include owners of Shisha Room and their staff, all the people that partied with Tagbo at Shisha Room, the eye-witnesses who observed them partying, the people who went to G12 beach with Davido, and Davido, among others.
  4. Davido and his crew need to consult and hire criminal defense lawyers just on standby in case they are questioned and/or ultimately charged for the death of Tagbo.
  5. We need to know who or what caused Tagbo’s death. Was it Tagbo because of his excessive drinking?  Was it Davido and his crew for allegedly driving him to the beach and leaving him in a locked car in his very intoxicated state? A credible autopsy should be able to tell us. By the way, remember that there is a potential civil case that Tagbo’s family can file against Shisha Room if it turns out they were serving Tagbo alcohol continuously fully aware he was already intoxicated. How do you drink 30 or 50 shots of tequila back to back and not die? How does a bar knowingly serve you that kind of amount of alcohol especially given your intoxicated state, and body weight?

By the way, there is an interesting twist to this case. The twist is that Linda Ikeji’s Blog reports that the Chief of Police in Lagos summoned Danjuma and Davido to his office to discuss this case. While there, Davido allegedly produced a CCTV video footage showing that he left Shisha Room before the death of Tagbo.

“LIB exclusively gathered that during the closed door meeting, Davido was able to provide CCTV footage from Shisha Room (The lounge in Lekki where they both partied earlier in the night) to prove that he left the club a long time before Tagbo and the deceased wasn’t in his car as claimed by Caroline.” – LIB

First, it is interesting to note that Shisha Room is co-owned by Davido’s manager Asa Asika. Second, why would Shisha Room give Davido the footage, first, and not the police? Third, the fact that Shisha Room gave such footage to Davido and it is owned by Asa Asika already shoots the credibility of the footage down. Arguably, they all have a motive, objectively speaking, to tamper with the evidence. Davido is also a musician well versed with producing and editing videos. Why would Shisha Room compromise the footage that could potentially exonerate Davido by giving it to Davido before the police?

There are a lot of unresolved questions in this case, and a lot of digging that needs to occur. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure. All of this hearsay by Danjuma, in my view, is not helping anybody, especially the deceased and his family.

To read Danjuma’s full interview on Korkus’ blog, click here.

To read Linda Ikeji’s report on Davido’s visit with the Chief of Police, click here.

-Ms. Uduak

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
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