D’banj said it was laughable that he was alleged to have diverted government funds, while adding that the “ministry should make public immediately money alleged to have been traced to his account.”
Nigerian musician, Mr Daniel Oladapo, famously known as D’banj, has dared the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management which supervises the N-Power scheme to release details of money traced to his bank accounts and the government officials he allegedly colluded with.
SaharaReporters had reported that D’banj would remain in the detention facility of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over a fresh discovery of 20,000 ‘ghost names’ infused into the N-Power Programme.
Speaking through his lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq., Managing Partner at Law Corridor on Thursday night, D’banj said it was laughable that he was alleged to have diverted government funds, while adding that the “ministry should make public immediately money alleged to have been traced to D’banj’s account.”
Olajengbesi also questioned the detention of D’banj beyond 48 hours allowed for law enforcement agencies to hold suspects.
The statement reads, “It has become necessary in the interest of justice and for public record to make known the following facts with regards to the false allegation against Mr. Daniel Oladapo (D’banj), especially as his immediate release has become expedient under the law and constitutional convention having satisfactorily cooperated with Commission’s investigation within the last 48 hours:
“1. Investigators of the Commission have between the 6th and 7th of December, 2022 thoroughly examined D’banj’s honest and straightforward answers to all its inquiries to the mutual satisfaction of the Commission and his legal representatives. 2. That D’banj has dutifully cooperated with the Commission in the course of their investigation and demonstrated a shared zeal to help the Commission make its impassioned and honest findings on the matter as he is interested in clearing his name as well.
“3. Consequently, after Wednesday’s interview session, we were informed he will be released as a matter of course having found nothing on him and with no further grounds for his continued detention. However, the Chairman of the Commission was required to sign off on his immediate release before it could be effected and that never happened.
“4. We were at the Commission today to give D’banj the required legal representation and all we waited for was still the ‘approval from above’ that never came. Dbanj was also not interviewed today on any other issue before his lawyers.
“5. While holding on to the sustained hope that D’banj will not somehow become the victim of targeted blackmail or faceless malice from certain quarters with perhaps vested interest in his downfall, we want to reassure the general public and the Commission by implication that we are fully ready and willing to cooperate to the extent of the law that makes for the finding of the truth in this matter which we take quite seriously.
“6. We in the same vein, reiterate that D’banj has no such access nor colluded with any government officials over any dubious transaction. The very allegation is a nightmare that must be dissipated by an assertion of the truth of D’banj’s unimpeachable innocence.
“7. As a matter of course, we now place a major demand on the oversight Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to immediately cause the release of the names of the government officials alleged to have colluded with by D’banj and the investigation of same should be made public. We also demand that the ministry should make public immediately money alleged to have been traced to D’banj’s account.
“8. We call on the National Assembly’s Public Account Committee to open a wide investigation into the N-Power scheme through an open and all free entry public hearing without protecting any sacred cows. 9. It is alarming and incongruous to design such an allegation against D’banj who does not have access to government accounts or government platforms to have been alleged to have diverted such huge sums without any single government official in custody with him.
“10. We have opted to treat this matter with all sense of diligence and with the benefit of doubt extended to the Commission given that we are mindful the Commission is headed by a Professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria whom we believe reckons with the principle that an accused is innocent until proven guilty and would constitutionally comply with same.
“11. It is to this end that we implore the Commission to be mindful of having detained D’banj beyond the constitutionally allowed limits without a charge made in court, following which we encourage the Commission to have him brought before a competent court with the necessary charges forthwith or duly release him while continuing their investigation which we understand can be a demanding and pressing task.
“12. D’banj is innocent of all the laughable allegations and deliberate publicity and has demonstrated patriotism by encouraging the Commission and such an act in good faith must not be unfairly rewarded.”
SaharaReporters earlier reported how top government officials introduced over 70,000 ghost workers into the N-Power Programme and fraudulently diverted billions of naira into their pockets.
“70,000 names were infused into N-Power by officials of the Buhari regime in the last four years.
“The fake list costs Nigeria N2.1 billion per year while original N-Power candidates are left unpaid,” a source had told the newspaper.
In June 2021, SaharaReporters reported that 14,000 beneficiaries of the N-Power programme were owed for five months.
N-Power is a youth empowerment scheme sponsored by the Nigerian Government under the Social Investment Program (SIP).
Other programmes under the scheme include Home Grown School Feeding, Tradermoni, Marketmoni and the Conditional Cash Transfer in the 36 states of the country.
A source had confided in SaharaReporters that ICPC would release D’banj on Wednesday night after failing to successfully link the musician to the fraudulent activities in the N-Power Programme.
“D’banj will be released tonight by the ICPC. The agency is unable to link him concretely with fraudulent activities in N-Power,” a top source in the agency had told SaharaReporters.
However, the source on Thursday said investigators discovered a fresh list containing over 20,000 ghost names, tagged “D’banj’s list.”
He said the names were allegedly used to divert over N600 million monthly for over two years by government officials in connivance with the Nigerian musician.
The source however added that D’banj refuted the allegation and denied any knowledge of the list.
“Like I told you yesterday, D’banj was to be released last night but our (ICPC) Director of Operations wasn’t available. So, his lawyers were asked to come back today,” he said.
“But our investigators just discovered another 20,000 N-Power list, so he (D’banj) will remain in detention.
“Today when his lawyers arrived for his release, they were told about this fresh list containing 20,000 names. This list was being used to divert N600 million monthly from Nigeria in the last two years by Buhari government officials. The list containing 20,000 names has been bleeding Nigeria N600 million monthly over the last two years.
“It’s named the D-banj’s list. He actually denied the list when he was interrogated by our officials. That’s the reason he wasn’t released as planned.”