Betta Edu: Tinubu under Pressure to Sack Minister as CISLAC, HURIWA, SERAP Call for Probe

Betta Edu: Tinubu under Pressure to Sack Minister as CISLAC, HURIWA, SERAP Call for Probe

  • The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, might be sacked by President Bola Tinubu
  • This is on the heels of the alleged diversion of N585.2 million of public funds into private accounts, violating the 2009 public sector financial regulations
  • Amid several civil society organisations' calls for her resignation, the presidency had to open a probe

Legit.ng journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil societies, courts, and metro

FCT, Abuja - More pressure has mounted on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu over the controversy surrounding the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu.

The minister has been accused of making payment of public funds of N585.2 million to a private account meant for disbursement to vulnerable people in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos, and Ogun states.

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The Presidency said it has open investigation on Betta Edu.
A N585m fraud allegation has been levelled against Nigerian minister Betta Edu. Photo Credit: Bola Ahmed Tinubu/Betta Edu
Source: Facebook

This allegation has raised a series of controversies as well as the competence of President Tinubu's administration, which has begun to give flashbacks of the immediate past administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, which was laced with corruption.

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Reacting to this development, some civil society and anti-corruption groups have called for the probe and resignation of Dr Edu.

Speaking to Legit.ng, the executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Comrade Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said President Tinubu must make a bold statement amidst the scandal surrounding his minister (Dr Edu) if he wants Nigerians to hold his administration in high regard.

Rafsanjani said Tinubu must use this opportunity to set an ethical, moral standard in financial regulation and public procurement compliance.

The anti-corruption crusader said if the monies recovered from the ongoing investigation of Halima Shehu (the suspended coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA)) are traced to Dr Edu and the immediate past minister (Sadiya Umar-Farouq), all three of them should be prosecuted.

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He said:

"I think the government must take drastic action to establish that nobody is above the law and people must comply with the financial regulation.
"Secondly, the permanent secretary in that ministry, who is supposed to be the accounting officer, must also be invited because this crime cannot be committed only by Sadiya, Halima and Betta.
"So, I want EFCC to invite everyone involved in this process so that they can be investigated and if they are found guilty, there must be consequences for their action."

HURIWA demands Betta Edu's resignation

Similarly, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, to resign temporarily.

HURIWA's request is prompted by the ongoing investigation into a purported N44.8 billion fraud in the National Social Investment Programme (NSIPA), explicitly involving public funds allegedly deposited into a private individual's bank account by the minister.

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The group highlighted the significance of the 2009 public sector financial regulations, which explicitly prohibit the transfer of public funds to the accounts of private individuals.

They urged both the President and the EFCC to adhere to international standards in enforcing anti-corruption laws.

Emphasising the importance of impartiality, HURIWA stressed that the law should apply equally to all individuals, irrespective of their positions within the ruling All Progressives Congress.

SERAP wants Betta Edu probed

Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on President Bola Tinubu to instruct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, as well as relevant anti-corruption agencies to swiftly and comprehensively investigate the reported transfer of N585.2 million by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu.

SERAP, in a statement released on its website, said:

“Anyone suspected to be involved in any improper payment or diversion of public funds should be brought to justice, and any diverted public funds returned to the public treasury and paid directly to the rightful beneficiaries.”

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Presidency confirms probe action on Betta Edu, others

Meanwhile, the government has announced that authorities are looking into the reported financial impropriety concerning the transfer of N585.189 million by Betta Edu.

Earlier reports gathered that the transfer violates several sections of Nigeria's Financial Regulations 2009, designed to combat fraud and corruption.

Bayo Onanuga, a key aide to President Bola Tinubu, stated that decisive measures would be taken following the completion of the investigation.

"Looters now buy gold, no longer houses, or plots of land" - Rafsanjani

In another report, the new mechanism for looting public taxpayers' money has been unravelled, and there is a call for immediate action to curb it.

Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, the board chairman of Amnesty International (Nigeria), said looters now buy gold instead of acquiring properties like houses and plots of land.

This was in response to Olusegun Osoba's (ex-Ogun state governor) call for unlimited cash deposits to retrieve hoarded and looted funds from looters.

Source: Legit.ng

Authors:
Segun Adeyemi avatar

Segun Adeyemi (Current Affairs and Politics Editor) Segun Adeyemi is a journalist with over 9 years of experience as an active field reporter, editor, and editorial manager. He has had stints with Daily Trust newspaper, Daily Nigerian, and News Digest. He currently works as an editor for Legit.ng's current affairs and politics desk. He holds a degree in Mass Communication (Adekunle Ajasin University). He is a certified digital reporter by Reuters, AFP and the co-convener of the annual campus journalism awards. Email: segun.adeyemi@corp.legit.ng.

Auwal Musa Rafsanjani avatar

Auwal Musa Rafsanjani (Human rights activist) Auwal Musa Rafsanjani is the chairman of the Board of Amnesty International, Nigeria, and executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC). Rafsanjani has been a member of Civil Liberties Organization and a member of The Center for Democracy and Human Rights. He was a founding member of Campaign for Democracy, led by late Beko Ransome Kuti, Democratic Alternative, also a member and coordinator of United Action for Democracy (UAD) led by Olisa Agbakoba.

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