Touchaheart Nigeria reports that President Bola Tinubu has taken a firm stand on financial matters, ordering an in-depth probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. This move comes after a scandal involving a substantial N585 million payment surfaced, leading to the suspension of Minister Betta Edu.
In an official statement titled ‘President Tinubu Suspends Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation from Office,‘ it was communicated that Minister Edu is required to cooperate fully with the investigators, relinquishing her responsibilities to the Permanent Secretary during this period of inquiry.
Simultaneously, President Tinubu has demonstrated a commitment to addressing broader institutional concerns. He has established a panel, headed by Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, to conduct a comprehensive review of the financial structure and framework of social investment programs. The overarching goal is to rectify institutional weaknesses and rebuild public trust in these critical initiatives.
The scandal unfolded when a leaked memo exposed Minister Edu’s instruction to transfer N585 million to a private account. Despite Edu’s assertion that it followed civil service norms, public pressure prompted the President’s swift action. Meanwhile, the EFCC has summoned Edu for questioning, emphasizing the administration’s dedication to transparency and accountability in managing public funds.
With the Ministry allocated a significant budget of N2.38 trillion from 2020 to 2024, President Tinubu’s directives signify his intention to root out corruption and ensure the effective implementation of social investment programs for the benefit of vulnerable households.
Her invitation by the anti-graft agency on Monday followed her suspension from office by President Bola Tinubu earlier in the day. Her suspension was with immediate effect. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu reportedly disassociated himself from the Minister after she was suspended from her position with immediate effect. Edu’s suspension was confirmed in a statement released by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Medua and Publicity just as she was within the President’s office complex waiting for access to see him.
A source further revealed that security detail and official vehicles, in which she rode to the Villa, were withdrawn, while The PUNCH confirmed that her Villa Access Card was withdrawn. A source in the Presidency who spoke to PUNCH on condition of anonymity said Edu had been trying to see the President without success since January 1, 2024, a day before news broke about the suspension of the National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme Agency, Halima Shehu, on January 2, 2024.
According to a video footage spotted on TVC News, Edu was ferried out of the admin foyer of the Villa in a black Toyota Hilux van belonging to State House security. The source however explained and said, “The SUV shown in the TVC footage was not for Edu but for a state governor who just arrived the premises. The car was simply turning to park somewhere. She was taken out of the Villa in the black Hilux.”
As earlier stated, Edu arrived at the Headquarters of the EFCC in Abuja met with EFCC investigators to make clarifications over the alleged order to pay N585.189 million grant meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states into a private account.
Recall that the anti-graft agency had invited Edu to its headquarters on Monday following a directive from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu ordering her suspension and investigation in relation to the allegation against her.
A source in the EFCC, told SaharaReporters on Monday evening that Edu had yet to show up at the headquarters of the agency in Abuja.
“We have invited her but she has not come in yet. I can tell you that she is not yet with us but we are expecting her.
“The President has given a directive and we started working on it immediately. She is likely to come in tomorrow,” the source said.
See the video.