Nigeria’s Poverty Alleviation Minister, Betta Edu’s Presidential Villa Pass withdrawn, expected to honour EFCC invitation Tuesday

The suspended the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, is expected to honour an invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday.

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.

The President had also directed the Executive Chairman of the EFCC to conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of the financial transactions involving the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, as well as one or more agencies thereunder.

A source in the EFCC, however, 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.

Also, it was learnt that Edu’s Aso Villa (Presidential Villa) pass has been withdrawn from her.

“Betta Edu’s pass to the Aso Villa has been collected,” a Presidency source told said on Monday.

A statement by Tinubu’s media aide, Ajuri Ngelale announcing her suspension earlier on Monday, said the suspension was in line with Tinubu’s avowed commitment to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability in the management of the commonwealth of Nigerians.

The statement read, “The suspended Minister is hereby directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and she is further directed by the President to fully cooperate with the investigating authorities as they conduct their investigation.

“Furthermore, the President has tasked a panel that is headed by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance to, among other functions, conduct a comprehensive diagnostic on the financial architecture and framework of the social investment programmes with a view to conclusively reforming the relevant institutions and programmes in a determined bid to eliminate all institutional frailties for the exclusive benefit of disadvantaged households and win back lost public confidence in the initiative.”

Edu had asked the Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs Oluwatoyin Sakirat Madein to send public funds to a private account, according to a letter obtained by thr newspaper.

The private account belongs to Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola, identified as a project manager by the minister.

A letter from the minister with reference number: FMHAPA/HQ/OHM/S.208 to the Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs Madein dated December 20, 2023, asked that over N585 million should be sent to a private account.

The letter signed by the minister, Dr Edu, is titled ‘Mandate for Payment of Grant for Vulnerable Groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos and Ogun States Respectively’.

It read, “I hereby approve the payment of the cumulative sum of five hundred and eighty-five million, one hundred and eighty-nine thousand, five hundred naira (N585,189,500.00). These are payments for programmes and activities of the Renewed Hope Grant for Vulnerable Groups.”

The details show that N219,429,750.00 was for 2023 Grant for Vulnerable Groups in Akwa Ibom State; N73,828,750.00 was for 2023 Grant for Vulnerable Groups in Cross River State; N219,462,250.00 was for 2023 Grant for Vulnerable Groups in Lagos State while N72,468,750.00 was for 2023 Grant for Vulnerable Groups in Ogun State.

The letter said the payment of N585,189,500.00 –the total sum – should be made to a UBA account: 2003682151 belonging to Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola.

“This payment should be made from the National Social Investment Officer account with account number: 0020208461037 to the Project Accountant’s details listed above,” it added.

 

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