Presidency Breaks Silence on Calls for Betta Edu's Sack Over N585m Scandal

The presidency has reacted to calls for the sack of Betta Edu as Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for requesting payment of N585.189 million grant meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun and Lagos States into a private account.

Reacting to the calls on Saturday, Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, said “appropriate action will be taken after the ongoing investigation” into the matter.

“The matter is under investigation. Appropriate Action will be taken thereafter.”

This is just as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it had no information relating to the issue has been presented before it.

In the same vein, the national chairman of the Activists for Good Governance, Declan Ihekaire, said the president must query the minister and take action against her if she is found wanting to serve as a warning to other government officials.

“If the law prohibits a certain amount of money to be paid into an individual account, the law must be followed. We must not get to the level in this country where certain individuals would do things because they’re in power. It’ll lead to a situation where you have impunity and where people will not have regard for the constitution and laws of the country.

“If I’m to be in charge, she should be queried. We must avoid a situation where people in power will do things and get away with it,” he said.

Executive Director, Investigation, Network Against Corruption and Trafficking (NACAT),Tega Oghenedoro, described Edu’s act as a “face of youthful mis-governance” and urged President Tinubu to sack her and hand her over to anti-graft agencies. 

“It’s sad that a lady of 37 years appointed into such office, who should be leading the debate on why youths should be considered for more high profile positions, has made herself a willing tool into a bad name on why youths and women should not even be president of Nigeria.

“The statement from the Accountant-General of the Federation clearly, stating that Betta’s action was wrong, is also more than enough to send her packing and hand her over to EFCC for investigation and prosecution,” he said.

Recall that in a viral document signed by her and directed to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Edu directed the disbursement of N585.189 million into one Bridget Mojisola Oniyelu’s private account.

The leaked document revealed that the money was paid into Oniyelu’s account.

The minister had, in a statement on Friday by her Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Rasheed Zubair, said the payment followed due process.

Zubair had explained that the money was paid into Oniyelu’s account because she currently serves as the project accountant of Grants for Vulnerable Groups, and that it is legal in civil service for a staff, the project accountant, to be paid and use same funds legally and retire same with all receipts and evidence after the project or programme is completed.

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