• Monday, March 04, 2024
businessday logo


Youngest minister in Tinubu’s cabinet suspended, faces EFCC today

Who is Beta Edu

Betta Edu, the youngest minister in President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet, was suspended on Monday, less than five months after she was assigned to head the ministry of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation.  She faces the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today for questioning.

Ajuri Ngelale, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, announced her suspension in a statement.

“In line with his avowed commitment to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability in the management of the commonwealth of Nigerians, President Bola Tinubu suspends the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, from office with immediate effect,” he said.

The statement also reveals that the president has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to thoroughly investigate all aspects of the financial transactions involving the the ministry of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, as well as one or more agencies.

Edu was asked to hand over to the permanent secretary of the ministry and to cooperate with the EFCC.

The President has also created a panel headed by Wale Edun, coordinating minister of the economy and minister of finance, to conduct a comprehensive diagnostic on the financial architecture and framework of the social investment programmes to reform the relevant institutions and programmes conclusively.

For many years women in Nigeria have persistently lamented poor representation in government, whether in elective offices or political appointments, and advocated 35 percent affirmative action on representation at all levels.

The emergence of the then 36-year-old Edu as one of the nine females appointed by Tinubu was also seen by many as a win for the #NotTooYoungToRun campaigners.

She has been in the eye of the storm since a memo bearing her signature and addressed to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation leaked online. The document showed instructions from the minister to disburse N585,198,500.00 to the private account of an individual named Oniyelu Bridget.

Edu, in a statement, defended the transaction, saying it was for the benefit of vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states.

Reacting to the comments that trailed the leaked memo, Rasheed Zubair, media aide to Edu, said the transaction followed “due process”.

Zubair said Bridget, whose bank account was stated to receive the payment, is the project accountant for the Grants for Vulnerable Groups scheme, and that it is “legal in civil service” for a project accountant to receive payments.

Edu was on Monday blocked from accessing Tinubu, hours after her suspension was made public.

She had arrived at the Presidential Villa at about 2.30 pm and headed straight for the President’s office.