N585m Scandal: Suspended Minister, Betta Edu denied access to Tinubu


N585m Scandal: Suspended Minister, Betta Edu denied access to Tinubu

Betta and Tunubu
Beta and Tinubu



The suspension, according to the statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, is in line with President Tinubu’s avowed commitment to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability in the management of the commonwealth of Nigerians.
The statement read: “The suspended minister is, hereby, directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and she is further directed by the President to fully cooperate with the investigating authorities as they conduct their investigation.
“Furthermore, the President has tasked a panel, headed by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance to, among other functions, conduct a comprehensive diagnostic on the financial architecture and framework of the social investment programmes, with a view to conclusively reforming the relevant institutions and programmes in a determined bid to eliminate all institutional frailties for the exclusive benefit of disadvantaged households and win back lost public confidence in the initiative.”
President Tinubu had earlier on Sunday, ordered a comprehensive probe into the alleged N585m scandal in the ministry and promised to “decisively punish” those involved in breaches and infractions unraveled during the investigations.
The minister has, however, denied any wrongdoing, saying the N585milliuon payment was meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states and defended the action.
She said it was legal within the civil service for such payments to be made into private accounts of staff members, especially project accountants.
No access to Tinubu

Following her suspension, the minister had arrived at the presidential villa, Abuja, with the intention of having a physical discussion with the president.

While she was able to clear all security checks up to the president’s office, she was, however, blocked from seeing him in his office.
It was also learned that apart from being unable to have an audience with President Tinubu, her access tag to the villa was immediately withdrawn from her by the president’s security.
She and was ferried out of the president’s office in a Toyota Hilux truck belonging to State House security.
It was not immediately clear if she was later allowed to use her official vehicle out of the presidential villa premises.

EFCC yet to summon suspended minister
The development is at variance with claims by some reports that the suspended minister had already landed at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja for interrogation.

A competent source told Vanguard that they were in the process of inviting Edu to the EFCC to answer questions on the alleged scam.
We are in the process of inviting the suspended minister to answer questions on the cash. It is not true that she is already in our custody,” the EFCC source told Vanguard.

FCG also gathered that an invitation was being sent to her to report to the commission within the week.
A top source in the anti-graft agency confirmed to Vanguard that Dr. Edu would have her day with investigators as soon as possible in line with its determination to stamp out corruption from the public space.
The source said: “The Presidency has given a marching order to the commission to carry out a thorough investigation into the scam involving the suspended minister. I can assure you that there is going to be no form of interference in this EFCC in the conduct of its operations under this administration.
Anywhere public funds and interest are involved, we will go to the bottom of the matter to fish out the culprits, no matter how connected and influential they may be, to protect public interest and prove to doubting Thomases that the era of looting public funds and getting away with it is over.
We are not leaving any stone unturned in getting to the root of the scams that have been uncovered and Nigerians can count on us to see to the end of the cases through thorough, unimpeded probe.
Anyone one who is caught in a corruption scandal will be thoroughly investigated and tried in accordance with our laws, no matter who is involved.’’

Spokesman of the anti-graft agency, Dele Oyewale, could not be reached for confirmation of the development at press time last night.

Sadiya may sleep in EFCC cell over N44bn scam
Similarly, former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and Edu’s predecessor, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, has started talking to interrogators at the EFCC over a N44 billion scam.
Umar-Farouq, who reported for interrogation at the EFCC headquarters, yesterday, was reported to have cooperated with operatives who quizzed her on her role in the alleged diversion of N44 billion from the ministry.
Although the details of her encounter with her investigators were not made available, a source close to the investigation told Vanguard that the former minister conducted herself in a civil manner and answered questions posed to her in relation to the scam.
However, as of the time of filing this report, she had not been released from the EFCC headquarters, Abuja, as a source said they were not aware whether she would be released on administrative bail before the end of the day or whether she would be made to spend the night in the custody of the agency.
CSOs, HURIWA react

Reacting to Edu’s suspension, the Director General of CSCHEI, Kunle Yusuff, said CSOs in Nigeria would not accept any administrative rascality and abuse of power by any appointees of the President.
CSOs, HURIWA react

Reacting to Edu’s suspension, the Director General of CSCHEI, Kunle Yusuff, said CSOs in Nigeria would not accept any administrative rascality and abuse of power by any appointees of the President.
His words: “Many Non-Governmental Organizations and Community-Based Organisations have been working vigorously developing various working concepts to align with Mr. President’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
‘’This is one of the reasons CSCHEI has set up a working template to evaluate and monitor 2024 budgets as approved by the President. Suspending the Minister of Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation is a strong warning to all government officials.
Seriously speaking, we have seen a President traveling around the globe marketing Nigeria Investment programmes. Hopefully, this may further increase Nigeria’s investment indexes. This is not the time for any government official to be indulging in financial misconduct that may negate the integrity of this administration.”

Edu’s suspension’s a right step — HURIWA

On its part, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, commended President Tinubu for suspending Edu, a call it had made on Saturday.
A statement by the group’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, stated that it was unthinkable that such a powerful, erstwhile national women leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Betta Edu, could have been suspended under the eight-year administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
We the people of Nigeria are happy that the President has responded swiftly, but it is expected that the process of investigation of all the allegations would be painstakingly carried out so we avoid the political situation whereby the entire process will turn out a charade or become a scenario of the ‘more you look the less you see’.
We are watching and hoping that no stone is left unturned to ensure that not a single kobo belonging to the masses of Nigeria is diverted by crooked means. Enough is enough! We hope that this whole development wouldn’t turn out as ‘government magic’ which will become a disastrous betrayal of public trust,” the statement read.
HURIWA welcomed what it called a breath of fresh air in the leadership style of the current administration and hoped for a sustainable approach towards providing selfless services to the good people of Nigeria.


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