February 8, 2023

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) has arrested and detained Oladapo Oyebanji, better known by his stage name, D’banj.

According to reports, the musician was arrested and detained on 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 fraud allegation.

The pop star, a wealthy Nigerian celebrity, is accused of fraudulently diverting hundreds of naira 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 alleged that D’banj colluded with some compromised government officials to introduce ghost beneficiaries into the payroll of the scheme. 

The stipend paid to those beneficiaries are then paid to accounts that have now allegedly been linked to the pop star.

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 subjected to a prolonged interrogation session after which he was 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 also gathered that ICPC might approach the court for an extended remand order to enable the agency complete its investigation before charging the musician to court.

Reacting to the news of his arrest, some Nigerians have taken to the comment section of blogs to express how they feel.

Theexcuslivelifeofoyin wrote: What does a pop star have to do with government funds?

Bukkylawal wrote: How did he get access to the governments funds before diverting it.?

Akpamoney wrote: Na dem. He deserves life imprisonment.

Savagery001: Youths in politics in the mud.

D’banj, 42, also known as the Kokomaster, was born on 9 June, 1980 in Zaria in Kaduna State, north-west Nigeria, to a military officer who commanded an artillery regiment and a businesswoman from Shagamu in Ogun State (South-west Nigeria), his profile on Wikipedia says.

A songwriter, singer, rapper and television personality, D’banj has been active in the vibrant Nigerian music scene since 2004. He sings afrobeat, hip pop, pop, and R&B.

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