President Bola Tinubu has suspended the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, with immediate effect.
Recall that the Presidency had said the appropriate authorities are investigating the financial irregularity involving the transfer of N585.189 million into a private account by the minister.
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The President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, said appropriate action would be taken after the investigation.
Controversy had enveloped Edu’s alleged involvement in the approval of about N585.189 million meant for the vulnerable persons in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun and Lagos states was reportedly diverted into a private account.
In a document signed by Edu and directed to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, the minister directed the disbursement of N585.189 million into one Bridget Mojisola Oniyelu’s private account.
Madein confirmed that although her office received a request from the humanitarian ministry to make certain payments, her office did not act on it.
A statement from the President on Monday, signed by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Medua and Publicity, said the suspension was in line with Tinubu’s avowed commitment to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency and accountability in the management of the commonwealth of Nigerians.
The statement said the President further directed 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,” the statement added.
“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.”