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N438m Consultancy Contract: Interior Minister, Tunji-Ojo, Sighted At Presidential Villa

He said “we’re too intelligent to be stupid,” as other ministers including Musawa also show up at Villa.

Interior Minister, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who was reportedly linked with the N438 million contract awarded by the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, to New Planet Project, was sighted at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday.

There were, however, conflicting reports about Tunji-Ojo’s presence at the seat of government as early as 10am as there were insinuations on some quarters that he was summoned by President Bola Tinubu to explain the controversy while others maintained that he was there on a routine ministerial visit. 

Contrary to report that the Interior Minister   was summoned by President Bola Tinubu over the controversy surrounding alleged financial infractions by the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, a presidency source who stated emphatically that Tunji-Ojo was not summoned, however, stressed that the issue of the contentious contract award might have been raised with the Minister if he actually met with the President. 

It was not clear whether he met with the president who had to reschedule many of his Tuesday’s engagements because of other pressing issues such as emerging developments from Niger Republic where the military junta had released some members of the deposed president’s family from detention. 

When asked by newsmen for his comments on the contract controversy before leaving the Villa at about 2.05pm, the Interior Minister said “we are too intelligent to be stupid.”

Tunji-Ojo had denied any involvement in the N438 million contract awarded to New Planet Project Limited that he co-founded. 

He had explained  in an interview on Monday night on a national television that he was no longer involved in the running of the firm having resigned as a director in 2019.

Also on Tuesday, three other Ministers namely Hanatu Musawa (Arts and Creative Economy), Shuaibu Audu (Steel Development) and Adebayo Adelabu (Power) were at the State House but were said not to have met with the president because of his very busy schedule. 

President Tinubu had on Monday suspended the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and PovertyAlleviation, who was said to be one of the star ministers in his 42-man cabinet.

The President also directed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should carry out a thorough investigation on the alleged financial infractions involving the embattled minister and the ministry.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

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