From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government has distanced itself from the arrest of Oladapo Oyebanjo popularly known as D’banj, who was arrested by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and other Related Offences (ICPC), for allegedly diverting funds meant for N-power beneficiaries.
It was reported that D’banj was arrested and detained by ICPC after evading several invitations for questioning concerning diversion of funds.
Last year, the artiste was sighted at NAF Centre, Abuja, posing for the camera before a banner as an ambassador of the N-power.
But the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, said the ministry never appointed anybody as a brand ambassador of the scheme.
She challenged those parading as an ambassador to present letters of appointment to that effect.
Umar Farouq, who noted that the ongoing investigation would not be interfered with, hailed the arrest.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Nasir Sani- Gwarzo, she said: “Arrests have been made, investigations have been made. I will not insinuate names here.
“We do not have a brand ambassador. If somebody is a brand ambassador let that person produce a letter appointing him or her.
“We have not appointed a brand ambassador. It is not even a speculation. It is false. But let me tell you; whoever needs to be arrested I will encourage ICPC to arrest that person so that the programme can continue.
“They are doing a good job and our doors are open. Anybody that has to be arrested should be arrested. But we will not interfere with ICPC.
“For any development programme that you see in life, it is normal. You cannot start from the point of perfection. I therefore, want to appeal to you to not insinuate those negativities because of the challenges we face at the beginning, the programme is going to be disrupted.”
She added: “The Ministry’s attention has been brought to recent publications regarding ongoing investigations in relation to fraud allegations in the Programme. We wish to here state as follows;
“The Ministry has deployed a well-rounded mechanism for selection of eligible beneficiaries from across the country and this has been in place since the inception of the program. Working with our Service Provider, Program Beneficiaries are onboarded, trained and deployed to pre-selected Places of Primary Assignment.
“When it came to our notice that there may have been sharp practices by some personnel of the Payment Service Provider (PSP) involved in the payment processes of beneficiaries, the matter was immediately referred to ICPC for thorough investigation. We are aware that certain persons have consequently been invited for interrogation as part of the ongoing investigations.
“In the meantime, we have carried out thorough reinforcement of our systems to eliminate all anomalies and prevent similar occurrences in the future. To this end we are in close collaboration with 1CPC to support the successful determination of
“The public may wish to note that in a bid to ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of N-Power and other National Social Investment Programmes, namely the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme(NHGSFP), Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) and the Conditional Cash Transfer(CCT), the Ministry has over time involved other government MDA’s, Security Agencies and Civil Society Organizations in monitoring and compliance checks across the 36 states of the country and the FCT
“We want to assure all N-POWER beneficiaries of Federal Government’s continued commitment to the programme and the subsequent exit/off-boarding channels activated.