Afrobeats star d’banj, whose real name is oladapo daniel oyebanjo, has been arrested over allegations of fraud involving the n-power initiative. the scheme was launched in 2016 by president muhammadu buhari to help unemployed youths start businesses and more than two million nigerians aged between 18 and 35 have benefited from it since. at least 280bn naira ($629m; â£516m) was distributed in 2019 to beneficiaries who started small businesses, but now ten people, including d’banj, are being investigated over the missing millions.
Investigation into the fraud began on tuesday when d’banj turned himself in after ignoring multiple summons. 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 was misleading. many beneficiaries have complained for months that they were not receiving their grants, and nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies said in a statement that “billions of naira” had been diverted. d’banj has not commented publicly.
Fraud happened when d’banj falsely claimed to be the brand ambassador for the n-power scheme, and beneficiaries received grants to start small businesses. the artist’s 2012 hit oliver twist won him fans across the continent and in the diaspora, but two years ago his one-year-old son drowned in a pool at his home in the commercial city of lagos. it is not known why d’banj decided to commit fraud, but the investigation will be all-encompassing and extended to other collaborators of the fraud and the banks where the beneficiaries’ accounts are domiciled.