On Monday, President Bola Tinubu suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Betta Edu with immediate effect in connection with a N585.2 million financial scandal.
President Tinubu stated that the decision is consistent with his declared dedication to maintaining the utmost levels of integrity, transparency, and accountability in the governance of the Nigerian people’s commonwealth.
Under the direction of the President, the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been tasked with conducting an exhaustive investigation into all facets of the financial transactions that involved one or more agencies operating under the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
The suspended Minister, according to a statement by Presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale, “is hereby ordered to surrender to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. Additionally, the Minister is directed by the President to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities as they carry out their investigation.”
Sunday, under the leadership of Edu, President Tinubu ordered a comprehensive investigation into the alleged N585m scandal at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
He swore to “decisively punish” all parties implicated in any violations and transgressions uncovered through the investigations.
A statement containing the directive was released by Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, in response to mounting discontent regarding the purported violation of financial regulations of the Federal Government.
It arrived as ministries were finalizing preparations for their initial performance evaluation, which was scheduled for the conclusion of January.
Numerous civil society organizations and groups, such as the Peoples Democratic Party, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Femi Falana, SAN, the Yoruba Youth Assembly, and others, demanded an unrestricted investigation into the leaked memo authored by Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. The memo directed Dr. Oluwatoyin Madein, the Accountant-General of the Federation, to transfer N585 million into the personal bank account of a project accountant in her minis.
The minister maintained that the N585 million payment was intended for vulnerable groups in the states of Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, and Lagos, and deemed the allegations against her to be without merit.
The Minister’s Media Assistant, Rasheed Olarenwaju, stated in a statement that such disbursements into the personal accounts of employees, particularly project accountants, were permissible within the civil service.