Famous Nigerian musician, Oladapo Oyebanji, famously known as D’banj will remain in the detention facility of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over a fresh discovery of 20,000 ghost workers infused into the N-Power Programme.
The anti-graft agency detained D’banj on Tuesday over fraud allegations involving the N-Power Programme.
On June 8, 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the programme to address the issues of youth unemployment and empowerment, and also promote social development.
NewsDay 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.
Since the social investment programme of the government was moved to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, the minister, Sadiya Farouq, had been making attempts to stop some of the programmes under the scheme.
Aside from announcing that beneficiaries would be laid off, she had also refused to release funds for the school feeding programme in some states.
A source at the humanitarian ministry on Wednesday night said top government officials in President Buhari’s government have been using cronies to siphon funds under the social intervention programmes.
A source had said 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 said.
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.”