Betta Edu: Humanitarian Affairs minister in trouble as PDP demands sack, Tinubu orders probe

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Betta Edu

The controversy surrounding the transfer of N585 million to a private individual’s account on the orders of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, has refused to go away as President Bola Tinubu has ordered a probe into the matter while the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded her sacking and prosecution.

PDP’s demand

In a Sunday statement, the PDP said it demanded the immediate sack and prosecution of the embattled minister over the alleged looting of N44 billion National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA) fund, including the N585.2 million audaciously diverted by her to a private account.

According to the party, the exposed fraud in 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 Ahmed Tinubu-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration which has practically brought the nation’s economy to its knees.

The PDP said it was tragic and heartbreaking that a minister entrusted with public funds to support millions of poor Nigerians who have been impoverished by the APC, turned around to divert hundreds of millions of naira meant for the wellbeing of the poor.

“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 further confirms our Party’s position that the Tinubu-led APC government is a cesspit of corruption; a haven for thieves and treasury looters.

“Nigerians were shocked by reports of how Betta Edu and the suspended National Coordinator of NSIPA, Halima Shehu allegedly engaged in brazen 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 of one of her fronts 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”.

“The apparent fraudulent intention by Betta Edu in diverting public funds into a private account; an action which was appropriately declared illegal by the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, is consistent with APC’s character and proclivity for plundering of public resources.

“The lack of remorse by the Minister especially in her lame attempt to justify the illegal diversion of funds meant for poor Nigerians is also consistent with the insensitivity, heartlessness, impunity and criminal audacity inherent in the APC administration,” the PDP said.

The PDP warned against purported moves to use the suspended National Coordinator of NSIPA, Halima Shehu as a scapegoat to sweep the involvement of the minister and some APC leaders under the carpet.

“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 demands that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) immediately invite Betta 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,” the party said.

Federal Government reacts

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu has directed a thorough and comprehensive inquiry into the alleged misappropriation of N585 million in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, led by Betta Edu.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris disclosed this in a Sunday statement.

“The Ministry of Information and National Orientation acknowledges the concerns raised by the public regarding the alleged payment of funds into a private account by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

“We are aware of the narratives circulating widely and wish to assure Nigerians that the Government takes these issues most seriously.

“The Federal Government, under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is transparent and accountable to the people, and committed to ensuring that public funds are allocated and utilized effectively and efficiently to address the needs of Nigerians,” the statement read.

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