A Nigerian musician, Oladapo Oyebanji, famously known as D’banj has been arrested and detained by anti-graft agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over fraud allegations.
The musician was arrested and detained Tuesday after ICPC operatives closed in on him, forcing him to surrender himself at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, sources familiar with the matter said.
D’banj, insiders said, had dodged summons for weeks, claiming to be overseas for scheduled concerts each time he was invited to appear for interrogation over allegations.
The pop star, a wealthy Nigerian celebrity, is accused of fraudulently diverting some funds earmarked by the Nigerian government for N-Power project, an empowerment programme set up by the Nigerian government in 2016 to address youth unemployment and increase social development.
Investigators allege that D’banj colluded with some government officials to introduce ghost beneficiaries into the payroll of the scheme. The stipends paid to those beneficiaries were subsequently paid to accounts later allegedly linked to the celebrity.
After the musician failed to show up for interrogation despite multiple invitations, the ICPC moved to arrest him anywhere in Nigeria and abroad, forcing him to show up at the commission’s office on Tuesday.
On arrival, D’banj was interrogated and later detained. His plea for administrative bail was rejected by officials who said the musician could not be trusted to attend his trial if released on bail.
It was learnt that the ICPC might approach the court on Wednesday for an extended remand order to enable the agency complete its investigation before charging the musician to court.
The spokesperson for the ICPC, Azuka Ogugua, could not be reached to comment for this story. She is said to be attending a programme abroad.
Nigerian singer, D’banj, is not new to controversies. In June 2020, he was entangled in a messy drama involving the alleged rape of a lady in 2018.
A Nigerian model scout, Benjamin Ese, had alleged that D’banj raped his friend on December 31, 2018, at a hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to him, his friend was forced to share her story after the Kokomaster joined in preaching against rape on his Instagram page as follows: “#NoMeansNo. We Need to Raise Our Sons right and Teach them to love and Respect Women. We Need Justice for Our GIRLS…Say NO to Rape, Racism, tribalism. Let us stop living in FEAR and HATE, and start living in LOVE…”