Big Brother Naija is among the most popular Nigerian reality TV shows. The drama in the house and the charismatic housemates have drawn a loyal following to the show over the years. But the drama often spills outside the house. What controversial stories have you heard about BBNaija and its contestants?
Few shows have attracted as much backlash and support, in equal measure, as Big Brother Naija. While viewers find the series relatable and fun, conservative Nigerians often complain that the show promotes immorality among the youth.
Controversies around the BBNaija show and its contestants
BBNaija has created many stars. However, some housemates become stars by being involved in drama and controversy. Here are the top 10 controversies about BBNaija and its contestants.
1. Khafi's misconduct hearing in the UK
BBNaija 2019 contestant, Khafi Kareem, was reportedly facing a misconduct hearing in London, UK. The ex-housemate was a police constable with the London Metropolitan Police when she entered the house.
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Khafi did not seek permission from her job before joining the show. Her line managers allegedly denied her request for approval because of the controversies surrounding the show. She ignored their authority and joined the show anyway, jeopardising her job.
When The Sun first published stories of her being in trouble at work, her management dismissed the rumours as defamatory. However, as of April 2022, the BBC confirmed that she was actively facing a hearing.
2. Maria's husband-snatching incident
Businessman and Nigerian socialite Cubana Chiefpriest accused Maria of having an affair with his sister’s husband. Cubana further revealed that Maria Chike had called his sister with threats over the Dubai-based husband.
The Shine Ya Eye housemate confirmed that she was dating Kelvin, attracting a lot of backlash from fans. The actress and TV personality insisted she did not break anybody’s marriage.
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3. Boma Akpore and Tega Dominic’s controversial situationship
These Shine Ya Eye housemates had a kindling romance while on the show. However, Tega Offiong Dominic was married when she entered Biggie’s house. They were filmed together under the covers, making fans conclude that they had intercourse. Tega was heavily criticised on social media for dishonouring her marriage.
Things turned ugly with the pair when Boma Akpore allegedly called Tega smelly. In a conversation with Pere, Boma allegedly said he slept with Tega and that her lady parts smelled like rotten fish. The saga erupted and ended in Boma’s eviction from the house shortly after.
One year after Shine Ya Eye, Boma and Tega have remained friends. They have both remained adamant that they never slept together. They also insist that Boma never said Tega smelled like fish. Furthermore, Tega’s husband and Boma were spotted hanging out together.
4. The EFCC and Nengi Hampson
Former BBNaija Lockdown housemate Nengi Hampson was rumoured to have lost her luxury Range Rover to Nigerian authorities. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seized the vehicle. Reportedly, the car was bought for her by a Ponzi scheme fraudster.
In addition to the fraud reports, Nengi was rumoured to be in a relationship with a married man. She was allegedly seeing billionaire Michael Diongoli who funded her lavish lifestyle. Nengi denied the reports and said that Twitter influencers were paid to tarnish her name.
5. Kemen and TBoss groping incident
Ekemini Ekerette aka Kemen was a housemate on BBNaija: See Gobbe (season 2) in 2017. That was until he was evicted from the house for inappropriately groping another housemate Tokunbo Idowu aka TBoss.
In one episode, Kemen is filmed waking up and looking around. On noticing that TBoss was asleep beside him, he slipped his hand under the covers and seemingly touched her bust. The incident caused an uproar among viewers.
Kemen received backlash for violating TBoss by touching her without her consent and was subsequently evicted from the house. He tried to defend himself, saying only he and TBoss knew what had happened that night. However, fans did not buy it, and Kemen eventually apologised to TBoss and all women in Africa.
6. Gifty called the show "satanic"
Season 2 contestant Gifty Powers rose to fame because of her stint on the show. When Gifty got evicted, she gave an interview in which she termed the show a dream come true. She said she had dreamt of being a housemate and the opportunity it presented.
However, in 2021, Gifty changed her tune. She made a controversial Instagram post in which she termed the show ‘Satanic’. She called for its cancellation, saying it keeps youth in unhealthy competition. She further said she had seen things she couldn’t talk about, hence her opinion.
7. The scandal surrounding Rico Swavey’s death
Double Wahala (Season 3) housemate Patrick Fakoya, aka Rico Swavey, passed away on 13 October 2022. The star was involved in a fatal road accident and died while receiving treatment at a local Lagos hospital.
According to reports, the singer was rushed to hospital by an Uber driver who witnessed the accident. On reaching the hospital, however, the staff refused to treat him before receiving an N4.5 million bank deposit. The Uber driver recorded a video of the nurses joking and laughing as the star fought for his life.
The family spokesperson revealed that they deposited N3.5 million, but the hospital spent only N1.8 million on Rico’s treatment. As of 29th October, the family stated that the hospital was yet to refund the remainder of the money. The Lagos State Government started investigating the unethical conduct that led to the singer’s passing.
8. Thin Tall Tony’s secret marriage and in-house affair
Anthony Edet Offiong, aka Thin Tall Tony, was known for his relationship with fellow housemate Bisola Aiyeola. They were caught kissing multiple times and had a moment under the covers that implied they did more.
Bisola and viewers were outraged when they discovered that Tony had a wife and kids outside the house. Bisola confessed that he misled her regarding his relationship status. After his eviction, Tony said his wife understood it was just a strategy to win the game and sell movies.
9. Allegations that the show is scripted
One of the fans’ favourite things about the show is its unscripted nature which makes it relatable. However, since 2018, fans have believed that the show is scripted.
For instance, in Double Wahala, fans felt that Cee-C was spared the multiple strikes she deserved because of favouritism. Unexpected winners like Phyna of the Level Up season have also fueled rumours that all BBNaija scandal is pre-written. The suspicions have made fans threaten to boycott the show for years.
10. EmmaRose relationship drama
Few couples have captured the hearts of fans like Emmanuel and Roseline Afije, aka Liquorose. The season 6 contestants hit it off fast and got together. However, shortly after leaving the house, Liquorose revealed that she was single.
At the Shine Ya Eye reunion in 2022, Liquorose revealed that she had caught Emmanuel Umoh cheating on her in Dubai. She also talked about finding him in the shower with Angel and JMK while still in the house. His numerous affairs in and outside the house broke her trust and ended their relationship.
Big Brother Naija and its contestants have been embroiled in much controversy. The show continues to fuel drama in the country, from the drama inside the house to scandals involving ex-housemates outside the house.
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Although the show has a loyal fanbase, little is known about the faces behind its success. Big Brother Naija's CEO, producer and owners remain a mystery to many fans. Read on to know the people behind the national phenomenon.