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Advocacy Group Seeks Suspension of Betta Edu Over N585m Payment into Private Account

‘’Directing payment of public fund into private account by a public officer is a serious procurement and fiscal malfeasance.”

Network for the Actualisation of Social Growth and Viable Development (NEFGAD) a public procurement advocacy group has urged President Bola Tinubu to be impartial in the face of massive corruption allegations rocking the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), insisting that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu should equally be suspended and investigated just as NSIP CEO, Mrs Halima Shehu was treated.

A section of the media has reported how the Minister of Humanitarian Affiars and Poverty Alleviation through a memo dated 20th December, 2023 with reference number fmhapa/hq/ohm/s.208 directed the Accountant General of the Federation to make payments of N585,189,500 into a private UBA account 2003682151 belonging to one Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola.

In a statement at the weekend  by its head of office, Mr Akingunola Omoniyi, NEFGAD said ‘’the recent development in the Humanitarian office has provided president Tinubu a golden opportunity to tell Nigerians and the whole world that he is ready and willing to tackle corruption in a fair, just and impartial manner by also applying same disciplinary measure (suspension) metted on NSIP CEO, Mrs Halima Shehu on the  Minister for Humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Mrs Betta Edu.’’

Akingunola noted that ‘’apart from the fact that Dr. Edu and Mrs. Halima Shehu are from different geographical divide of the country, the tendency and pattern of the allegations involving  the duo  are too identical and should not have attracted diffrent approaches and measures in dealing with them by the president.

‘’Directing  payment of public fund into private account by a public officer is a serious procurent and fiscal malfeasance that attracts serious penalty under extant laws, regulations and rules including the public procurement, Fiscal Responsibility, Independent Corrupt Practices  and other offences (ICPC), Code of Conduct Acts and the Anti-mobey Laundering (prevention and prohibition) Act.

Akingunola further stated that the Minister has serious questions to answer by Instructing payment of  public fund into private accounts other than that of a legal entity who have duly participated in a competitive selection process and  or are direct beneficiaries of a  conditional grant scheme (in the case of vulnerable people as captured in the Ministry’s mandate).

The act depicts pure nepotism, favouritism, undue advantage conferment and criminal diversion,  he averred. Hence, the group implored president Bola Tinubu to direct the suspension of the Dr. Betta Edu for thorough investigation by relevant anti corruption agencies with immediate effect failure which may call for massive advocacy and court action.

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

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