Legal adviser, Pelumi Olajengbesi, who is representing Nigerian singer, Oladapo Oyebanjo, aka D’banj, has called for his immediate release from the custody of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
D’banj had been in detention since Tuesday when he honoured the invitation of the anti-graft agency over his alleged involvement in the diversion of N-Power funds.
Olajengbesi in a statement on Thursday said D’Banj’s arrest was uncalled for, as he is innocent of the allegations of fund diversion levelled against him.
He noted that he has spent 48 hours in detention in the course of interrogation and requested that he be released.
“It has become necessary in the interest of justice and for the public record to make known the following facts concerning 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:
“Investigators of the Commission have between December 6 and 7, 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.
“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”, the lawyer said.
He added that after Wednesday’s interview session, they were informed that the singer would be released because they found nothing on him and they have no further ground for his continued detention, but the chairman of the commission had to sign.
“We were at the Commission on Thursday, to give D’banj the required legal representation and all we waited for was still the ‘approval from above’ that never came. D’banj was also not interviewed on Thursday, on any other issue before his lawyers.”
“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”, the statement said.
D’Banj’s lawyer sought the provision of names of government officials allegedly involved in colluding with the singer to perpetuate the alleged fraud.
“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.
“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 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.
“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.
“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.
“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”, Olajengbesi said.
“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.
“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”, he added.