Following the recent circulating narratives on payments made by Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, President Bola Tinubu has directed thorough investigation to ascertain the accuracy and validity of the allegation.
The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, in a statement said Tinubu is committed to ensuring that public funds are allocated and utilized effectively and efficiently to address the needs of Nigerians.
He said the government is determined to unravel the truth as it relates to this matter, and assures that appropriate action will be taken to ensure that any breaches and infractions are identified and decisively punished, in line with the administration’s commitment to public accountability and due process.
According to the statement, “in the light of recent events, the president has directed that a thorough and comprehensive investigation be conducted to ascertain the accuracy and validity of the reported details.
“The government is determined to unravel the truth as it relates to this matter, and assures that appropriate action will be taken to ensure that any breaches and infractions are identified and decisively punished, in line with the administration’s commitment to public accountability and due process.
“The public is advised to note, against the backdrop of various unverified narratives circulating on the internet, that the Ministry of Information and National Orientation, under the leadership of Minister Mohammed Idris, is the primary source for verified information about events and actions of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Only accurate details will be shared with the public. The ministry is committed to providing timely updates to keep Nigerians informed about the progress of the investigation.
“We urge Nigerians to exercise patience as the investigation unfolds. The government is focused on ensuring a fair and unbiased process, and the findings will be communicated duly and transparently to the public”, the statement said.
The minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, was alleged to have requested the Accountant-General of the Federation, Olwatoyin Madein to transfer N585.2 million to a private account owned by one Oniyelu Bridget, said to be a Project Accountant, Grants for Vulnerable Group.
But reacting on her social media handle, Edu described the allegation as baseless and “an attempt to undermine the efforts we are making to fight corruption and uplift those in need. It is an attempt by mischief makers to undermine my ministry’s efforts in fighting corruption.”
Also, on her WhatsApp status, she said: “On God’s integrity, the desires of our enemies will not prevail.”
PDP demands Edu’s sack, prosecution
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Sunday, observed that the alleged N44 billion National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA) fraud and the N585.2 million allegedly diverted to a private account under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs is just a tip of the iceberg of “the unprecedented treasury looting, unbridled stealing and plundering of resources going on in the President Bola Tinubu-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.”
In a statement issued on Sunday, the PDP noted that such looting and stealing have practically brought the nation’s economy to its knees.
The party also called for the immediate sack and prosecution of the minister in charge of humanitarian ministry, Dr Betta Edu.
The statement signed by the PDP national publicity secretary, Debo Ologunagba, National averred: “The continuing stay of Betta Edu as minister is therefore provocative and amounts to stealing from a people and daring them to do their worst.
It reads further: “Nigerians were shocked by reports of how Betta Edu and the suspended National Coordinator of NSIPA, Halima Shehu, allegedly engaged in looting of billions of naira while Nigerians who the funds are meant for are deprived and abandoned to excruciating hardship and misery.
“Equally disheartening is the reports of how Betta Edu allegedly directed the transfer of the N585.2 million NSIPA money into the private account in clear violation of Chapter 7, Section 713 of Nigeria’s Financial Regulations, 2009, which expressly prohibits the payment of public money into a private account.
“For emphasis, Section 713 of Nigeria’s Financial Regulations, 2009 provides that ‘personal money shall in no circumstances be paid into a government bank account, nor shall any public money be paid into a private bank account. An officer who pays public money into a private account is deemed to have done so with a fraudulent intention.
“What Nigerians demand of President Tinubu at the moment is to demonstrate commitment to the fight against corruption by immediately sacking Betta Edu, hand her over for investigation, prosecution and take steps to recover the stolen N44 billion and channel the fund recovered towards the wellbeing of Nigerians.”
The PDP also demanded that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should immediately invite Edu for questioning and take further steps to commence a system-wide investigation into the alleged large-scale corruption and treasury looting pervading in Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) under the APC administration.
We stand firmly behind Betta Edu, says Nigeria Women Arise for Democracy
However, Nigeria Women Arise for Democracy, a pro-democracy women group dedicated to promoting democracy, justice, and equality, on Sunday rejected calls for the removal of the Minister of Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu from office.
In a statement forwarded to journalists, the organisation urged President Bola Tinubu to disregard such calls, contending that “our organisation has closely monitored the developments we find these allegations baseless and without merit.”
Edu contravened ICPC, Public Service Rules, she should resign —Falana
Rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana has asked the embattled Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Povery Alleviation, Dr. Betty Edu, to resign from office over the N585 million saga rocking her ministry.
In a statement Sunday night, the Senior Advocate said the minister violated extant rules governing public utilization and deployment of public funds.
He said, “It is public knowledge that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betty Edu recently directed the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to pay a whopping sum of N585.18 million to to a private account owned by one Oniyelu Bridget, who the ministry claimed currently serves as the Project Accountant, Grants for Vulnerable Groups in AkwaIbom, Cross River, Lagos and Ogun States. Happily, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Dr. Oluwatoyin Madein rightly rejected the illegal directive and refused to pay the said sum of N585.18 million to the agent of the Minister.