Nigerian President suspends Humanitarian Minister amid corruption allegations. Betta Edu, who is the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, got suspended as a result of the use of a private bank account for financial transactions related to the government's social welfare program.
The suspension is effective immediately, pending a comprehensive investigation by Nigeria's anticorruption agency into all financial dealings within the ministry. The scope of the investigation will also encompass the entire structure of Nigeria's social investment programs, as stated in a press release by presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale.
In the year that President Bola Tinubu took office, he committed to fighting corruption in Nigeria. Since then, he has been subjected to constant examination, questioning the origins of his riches and his educational background. Tinubu swiftly suspended the former head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) indefinitely, alleging abuse of authority as the reason for his decision. This action was taken within a month of his inauguration.
The government cited Tinubu's commitment to "uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability" in the management of Nigeria's resources as the justification for the suspension.
The recent suspension of Betta Edu comes in the wake of reports in local media referencing an official memo. The memo indicated that Edu directed the transfer of 585 million naira ($663,000) in grants, earmarked for vulnerable groups, into a private account. The minister's office defended the decision, asserting that it adhered to due process, and Edu herself has refuted any allegations of wrongdoing.
Many Nigerians have expressed their disapproval of the use of a private bank account for the grant program. This is because the country is currently experiencing severe austerity measures imposed by the government, which have made the situation of millions of people who are already living in extreme poverty even worse. There has been an increase in the number of people calling for the minister to be fired as a result of this scandal.
According to a statement that was made by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation in Nigeria, the money in question is supposed to be transferred directly from government accounts to the individuals who are eligible to receive it.
Simultaneously, Betta Edu's predecessor, Sadiya Umar Farouq, appeared before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday as part of an investigation into alleged corruption in the allocation of public funds during her tenure as minister. Farouq took to social media, stating that her visit to the commission's office was to "offer clarifications in respect of some issues that the commission is investigating."