Nigerian Afrobeats star Oladapo Oyebanjo known in showbusiness as D’banj has been arrested over allegations of fraud, according to local media reporting.
The musician was arrested after millions of dollars meant to help unemployed youths start businesses reportedly got missing.
In a tweet, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) confirmed the arrest of the musician over allegedly fraudulent activities associated with the N-Power Programme, a government scheme set up to address youth unemployment and empowerment.
The N-Power initiative was launched in 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari but many beneficiaries have complained about not receiving their grants.
According to reports, More than two million Nigerians aged between 18 and 35 have benefited from the N-Power scheme since it was launched.
Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies said in a statement on Wednesday that “billions of naira” had been diverted.
At least $629m was distributed in 2019 to beneficiaries who started small businesses, the authorities said.
D’banj, a self-acclaimed brand ambassador for the scheme, has turned himself in, according to police.
His lawyers said the artist willingly turned himself in on Tuesday and will cooperate with the investigation. Ten other people, as well as D’banj are being investigated, the anti-corruption agency said.
“The investigation will be all-encompassing and also be extended to other collaborators of the fraud and the banks where the beneficiaries’ accounts are domiciled,” a statement read.
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, which oversees N-Power, said it had no official engagement with the artist and that his claims to be an ambassador for the scheme were misleading.
D’banj’s 2012 hit Oliver Twist won him fans across the continent and in the diaspora.