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Nobody’s Above The Law In Nigeria, Say EFCC and ICPC As Interrogators Grill Betta Edu

Sources at EFCC said some bank chiefs were also invited by the commission in connection with the investigation of the suspended minister.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday, questioned suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, over payment of N585 million public funds into a private account.

Edu’s interrogation came as heads of the country’s two anti-graft agencies, EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Ola Olukoyede and Musa Aliyu (SAN), respectively, vowed that no Nigerian was above the law. They made the declaration when Aliyu visited Olukoyede at the EFCC headquarters, in what they said was meant to deepen collaboration between the two anti-corruption agencies.

 Both men said the two agencies would investigate any public officer, who failed to play by the rules.

Olukoyede and Aliyu said events of the last 48 hours had shown beyond doubt President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to containing corruption in public offices.

Sources at EFCC said some bank chiefs were also invited by the commission in connection with the investigation of the suspended minister. The bank chiefs were later allowed to leave.

A source said, “We did not arrest them. We invited them to come and clarify issues of concern and they honoured our invitation, they have since left. We did not arrest them. Please, ignore social media reports.”.

THISDAY learnt that Edu arrived at the EFCC headquarters in Jabi, Abuja, at 11am, and appeared before interrogators with her aides and lawyer.

At the time of filing this report, the minister was still responding to questions from investigators.

Edu’s appearance at the EFCC office came barely a day after she was suspended by Tinubu. She was caught in a N585 million disbursement scandal involving the humanitarian affairs ministry, which drew widespread criticism from rights groups and the public.

Olukoyede and Aliyu declared that the two agencies would investigate any public officer, who failed to act according to established guidelines. They said recent events left no one in doubt about Tinubu’s commitment to the fight against corruption in the country’s public life.

The meeting between Olukoyede and Aliyu had in attendance the chairmen and management staff of EFCC and ICPC, and it was aimed at deepening mutual cooperation and synergy for greater impact in Nigeria’s anti-corruption drive.

Aliyu stated that the visit to the EFCC was a show of commitment to the existing relationship between the two agencies. He expressed the readiness of ICPC, under his leadership, to provide the needed support and cooperation for the purpose of eradicating corruption in Nigeria.

Aliyu stated, “It is important for us to work together, and we cannot do this without a good relationship. That’s why I think I need to extend this hand of friendship to the EFCC so that we can effectively partner in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

“I am aware that there’s an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the EFCC and ICPC and I’m willing and ready to partner whenever there’s any issue of interest in the fight against corruption.

“I’ll be reaching out to my brother and Chairman of EFCC on issues I think we can partner because there’s no need for us to be duplicating responsibilities, wasting resources and time.

“I hope with this first meeting, we are going to be meeting regularly to review what we are doing together.”

Olukoyede agreed with Aliyu on the need for collaboration. He said the meeting had also presented an opportunity for a review of the existing MoU between the two agencies.

“We have areas of similar mandates and with the population of about 250 million people, there’s so much in our hands and I can tell you that the enormity of the work demands that we work together,” he said.

The EFCC boss also said the political will of Tinubu to fight corruption, as demonstrated by recent events, was enough boost for anti-corruption agencies to give their best.

Olukoyede stated, “We believe that with the kind of president that we have, who is willing and ready to do the right thing, as demonstrated in the last 48 hours, it is clear that the president is providing the political will and the leadership for the anti-corruption agencies to work and I believe that with this, there’s no hiding place for us and we must ensure that we give our best.

“We are going to give the president the right support and we believe that the courage would be there to take the right decisions.

“Nobody is too big to be investigated in this country. Once you are not playing to the rules, we’ll investigate you.”

 Emmanuel Addeh, Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha, and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja 

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