EFCC To Grill Betta Edu Today




Suspended Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Minister, Dr. Betta Edu will today be grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N585 million fraud in her ministry.
Edu, who was suspended yesterday by President Bola Tinubu, is being accused of paying the Humanitarian Fund into a private account.

The N585 million was meant for payment of grants to vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Cross River and Ogun states.

Edu is the first minister to be suspended from office since member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) were sworn in in August last year.

Before her appointment as minister, she had served as Health commissioner in Cross River State and National Women Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Following her suspension, Edu was blocked from seeing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who had directed the anti-graft agency to thoroughly investigate the financial activities of the ministry and some of its agencies.

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A source said that her access tag was withdrawn by a security agent at the State House, Abuja.

The President also directed a panel, headed by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, to investigate the financial structure and operations of the social investment programmes, with a view to restructuring relevant institutions and programmes.

Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma, Senate Chief Whip, Ali Ndume and Arewa Youth Consultative Forum hailed Edu’s suspension. They described it as upholding the anti-corruption disposition of the Administration.

The President’s directives on the probe were contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, in Abuja.

Edu, who was directed to hand over the affairs of the ministry to the Permanent Secretary, was also advised to cooperate fully with the investigating bodies

The statement reads: “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 President further directs the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of the financial transactions involving the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, as well as one or more agencies thereunder.

“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 that is 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.

“These directives of the President take immediate effect.”

Uzodimma: President’s action can’t be queried

The Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, (PGF) Uzodimma, said Edu’s suspension by the president cannot be queried. He told State House Reporters after visiting the President.

He said: “This is very clear. Whether progressive governor forum, or whether as governor of Imo State, we have only one president whose wisdom we cannot question. And what is more, if there are allegations and the President said I want to look into it, I think it’s consistent with the law and the oath of office he swore to.

“So, I don’t think it is something that we will begin to create a menu now for the media. So, et’s allow the sleeping dog to lie.”

Tinubu should dismantle ‘emerging political cartel’

Ndume, who represents Borno South District, commended Tinubu for suspending Edu over alleged diversion of funds.

The senator, who is currently in Saudi Arabia for the Lesser Hajj, also called on the President to as a matter of urgency, check the excesses of those he described as an ‘emerging political cartel,’ warning that it may be worse than a cabal.

The Senate Chief Whip, who spoke on phone, said: “What President Tinubu has done is very timely. The suspension of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs is a welcome development. It will allow the relevant agencies to conduct a proper investigation.

”Some people in the same position Tinubu is today would not have acted. But, as a leader who is in charge, he acted swiftly and the minister has been suspended. We should commend the President. This is something Nigerians should commend.

“But the President should not stop there. There is an emerging political cartel within the corridors of power. The President must act swiftly and dismantle the cartel.”

“If they’re not stopped, they’ll be stronger and worse than a cabal. The President must not allow that to happen. I don’t think what the Minister did was an isolated case. I don’t think she acted alone.

“The President needs to look deep and flush out those involved in mismanaging the funds meant for humanitarian assistance. We are hopeful that the President will take more decisive actions in the future.”

Arewa youths: suspension okay

The AYCF hailed President Tinubu over the suspension, urging the EFCC to do a thorough job.

In a statement by its President General, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, the AYCF said the suspension has clearly shown the direction of the administration.

It reads: “The suspension of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation is an indication that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has zero tolerance for any form of corruption.

“He has equally demonstrated capacity to run an administration that will not give room for anything that is capable of tarnishing his administration and this should be a signal to other Ministers to take redress.

“We as a youth body is hereby reiterate our support to the Tinubu administration and urge him to throw more search light on other of his cabinet members to ensure that they do not engage in any activities that will undermine his administration.

“With the present development, our eyes will be on all the serving ministers, with the view to exposing any of them with corrupt tendencies.”



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