Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria, has thrown his weight behind the suspension of Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, over the alleged diversion of N585 million meant for the poor into a private account.
Obi, who came in third in that election, voiced his support through a series of tweets on his X (formerly called Twitter) account on Wednesday night.
He tweeted that he not only welcomes her suspension but also supports the move for a thorough investigation into the matter.
The former Anambra State governor, however, urged the government to ensure that its investigation is not only thorough but that “all those culpable be brought to book.”
He tweeted, “The suspension of the Minister should not be a window-dressing action but should be a peg to get at all those who are deserving of blame and punished just like the Minister.”
He questioned how the ministry could almost become a conduit pipe for fraudulent enrichment as the minister who managed the ministry in the previous administration is facing an N37 billion diversion.
He tweeted, “By a sad coincidence, the alleged fraudulent diversion of N585 million of public money by Ms. Edu broke almost at the same moment that the Minister who held the same portfolio in the last administration is being investigated for a whopping N37bn misappropriation.
“The Ministry may have been created by the system as a conduit pipe to siphon public funds while using the poor as a face. Equally worrisome and disgusting is the fact that the missing funds are meant for poverty alleviation in a time of severe suffering among the people.”
He expressed distrust in a ruling elite that shamelessly diverts or misappropriates significant sums designated for the poor, highlighting their inability to address the widespread poverty affecting the people.
Obi condemned such actions as both immoral and insensitive, emphasising the terrible nature of those entrusted with public welfare funds stealing from the poor.
He tweeted, “I call on the administration to use these cases to initiate a thorough system-wide and systematic investigation of all reported cases of fraud and corruption among high government officials in the country.
“I join all Nigerians in calling on the government to accord the problem of public sector corruption the severe urgency it deserves. -PO”