…EFCC swings into action
By Abiodun OBA
President Bola Tinubu on Monday suspended the embattled Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Betta Edu
Tinubu also directed that the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to probe transactions of agencies under the ministry.
He suspensionfollowed widespread anger over an alleged N585 million scandal.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists.
“In line with his avowed commitment to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability in the management of the commonwealth of Nigerians, President Bola Tinubu suspends the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, from office with immediate effect,” the statement read.
Recall, only on Sunday, Tinubu directed a comprehensive inquiry into the alleged N585m scandal in the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
He had also vowed to “decisively punish” those involved in any breaches and infractions unravelled during the investigations.
Several groups and individuals including the Peoples Democratic Party, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Femi Falana, SAN; the Yoruba Youth Assembly and other civil society groups demanded an unfettered probe of the leaked memo by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, instructing the Accountant-General of the Federation, Dr Oluwatoyin Madein, to pay N585m into the private bank account of a project accountant in her ministry, Bridget Oniyelu.
The minister had claimed that the N585m payment was meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states, describing the allegations against her as baseless.
The Media Assistant to the Minister, Rasheed Olarenwaju, said in a statement that it was legal within the civil service for such payments to be made into private accounts of staff members, especially project accountants.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has invited the suspended Minister to its headquarters located in Jabi, Abuja over the alleged N585m scandal less than an hour after her suspension from office.
An impeccable EFCC source, who confirmed the development revealed that the anti-graft agency’s Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, had earlier recommended the suspension of the Minister to the President to pave the way for proper investigation.
The source further noted that the commission swung into action immediately after the President ordered a thorough investigation into the alleged payment of N585.189 million grant meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun and Lagos states into a private account.
“We have invited the suspended Minister, Betta Edu. The invitation letter was sent to her immediately after her suspension was announced by the President. We’re are expecting her at the headquarters any moment from now,” the source noted.