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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Buhari, Tinubu’s female ministers in EFCC over corruption allegations

Buhari, Tinubu’s female ministers in EFCC over corruption allegations

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has invited the suspended minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, to its headquarters in Abuja.

This follows her suspension from office by President Bola Tinubu over allegations of a controversial N585.189 million grant payment.

Tinubu’s decision was conveyed in a statement by the presidential spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale.

Though EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, would not pick his calls or confirm the story, EFCC sources said the invitation came less than 30 minutes after President Tinubu announced Edu’s immediate suspension from office.

The sources also stated that the EFCC had earlier recommended the suspension of the minister to pave the way for a thorough investigation into the ministry’s affairs.

“An official invitation by the commission has already been sent to her. We expect her to honour the invitation to give proper insight into the issue at hand. So, we expect her to arrive here anytime soon.”

Meanwhile, the suspended minister was seen leaving Aso Villa shortly after her suspension was announced on Monday.

No payment?

The accountant general of the federation confirmed that while Edu’s office requested certain payments, no money was actually disbursed.

Her visit to Aso Villa came just 30 minutes after President Bola Tinubu announced her suspension pending an investigation.

Nigerian Sketch could not ascertain if Edu met with President Tinubu during her brief visit, but most Nigerian dailies reported that she was blocked from seeing the president.

The presidency has not commented on the matter.

Meanwhile, opposition leaders are calling for a full, transparent investigation into the allegations against Edu.

Edu’s suspension comes just months into Tinubu’s new administration. The president campaigned heavily on fighting corruption.

Edu’s predecessor

Meanwhile, Edu predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouq on Monday finally honoured the invitation of the EFCC over N37 billion corruption allegation against her.

The former minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, who is being investigated over the sum of N37,170,855,753.44 allegedly laundered under her watch through a contractor, James Okwete, arrived at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja yesterday morning and was drilled by EFCC investigators for hours.

Umar-Farouk took to her X account to announce her going to the EFCC office, saying, “I have, at my behest, arrived at the headquarters of the EFCC to honour the invitation by the anti-graft agency to offer clarifications in respect of some issues that the commission is investigating.”

The former minister had earlier failed to honour the invitation of the anti-graft agency.

She, however, wrote a letter to apologise to the Commission over her failure to honour their invitation.

Uzodinma supports Tinubu’s action

Imo State governor Hope Uzodinma has said the suspension of the minister of humanitarian affairs, Betta Edu, was consistent with President Bola Tinubu’s oath of office.

He disclosed this to State House correspondents on Monday after meeting with President Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said, “If there are allegations and the president said I want to look into it. I think it’s consistent with the law and the oath of office he swore to. So, I don’t think it is something that will begin to create a menu now for the media. So, I think let’s allow the sleeping dog to lie.

Uzodinma stated that APC governors are fully aligned with President Tinubu’s policy agenda outlined in the latest budget.

CSO, Arewa Youths applaud Tinubu

A civil society organisation, Community Advancement and Humanitarian Empowerment Initiative in Nigeria, CSCHEI, has commended President Bola Tinubu for his swift action in suspending the minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu

Reacting to the development, the director general of CSCHEI, Kunle Yusuff, said CSOs in Nigeria will not accept any administrative rascality and abuse of power by any appointees of the president.

“Many non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations have been working vigorously developing various working concepts to align with Mr. President Renewed Hope Agenda.

“This is one of the reasons CSCHEI has set up a working template to evaluate and monitor 2024 budgets as approved by the President. Suspending the minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviations is a strong warning to all government officials,” he said.

Also, the leadership of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has commended Tinubu for suspending Edu from office with immediate effect.

AYCF, in its statement by its president general, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, said, the suspension of the minister was a vindication of the minister of state for defence, Bello Matawalle, who had earlier said the Tinubu administration was going to different from what was obtainable under the Buhari Muhammadu’s regime.

He said, “The suspension of the minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation is an indication that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has zero tolerance for any form of corruption.

“He has equally demonstrated the capacity to run an administration that will not give room for anything that is capable of tarnishing his administration and this should be a signal to others,” the group said.

 

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