Betta Edu and her predecessor face scrutiny over questionable financial transactions within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
Nigeria’s president took swift action on Monday, suspending the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, due to the use of a private bank account for financial transactions related to the government’s social welfare program. The suspension, effective immediately, is in response to concerns over potential financial irregularities, prompting the country’s anticorruption agency to conduct a comprehensive investigation into all ministry transactions, including those within Nigeria’s social investment programs.
President Bola Tinubu, who assumed office last year with a commitment to combat corruption, emphasized the need to maintain the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability in managing Nigeria’s resources. The move follows Tinubu’s earlier suspension of the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) within a month of his inauguration, citing abuse of office.
Edu’s suspension comes amid controversy surrounding her directive, as indicated in an official memo, to transfer 585 million naira ($663,000) in grants for vulnerable groups into a private account. Despite the minister’s office asserting that due process was followed, the decision has faced public backlash, particularly in a country grappling with austerity measures affecting millions living in extreme poverty. Calls for Edu’s dismissal have intensified.
Critics argue that such funds should be disbursed directly from government accounts to beneficiaries, a sentiment echoed by the Office of Nigeria’s Accountant General of the Federation in a statement.
In a parallel development, Edu’s predecessor, Sadiya Umar Farouq, appeared before the EFCC on Monday as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption during her tenure as minister. Farouq, addressing the matter on social media, stated that she was at the commission’s office to provide clarifications regarding issues under investigation.[logo-slider]