Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria has urged the embattled Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, to tender her resignation for some time so she can submit herself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission investigations.
HURIWA made this call following the Federal Government’s ongoing N44.8 Billion Fraud investigation in NSIPA as it involved the public fund she allegedly deposited in a private individual’s bank account.
The group emphasized on the potency of the public sector financial regulations of 2009, which prohibits the payment of public funds to the account of a private individual.
HURIWA especially noticed that it would be a twofold norm in the event that the the president suspended his representative heading the social investment coordinating office for the allegations of paying public funds worth over N34 billion as alleged by EFCC into private accounts, stressing that only for the cabinet-level minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to be approaching the public space seeking justification for also directing that public fund be paid into a private account no matter the status of that account holder.
It urged the President and the EFCC to use the best global practice in the enforcement of the anti-graft laws since the law shouldn’t be made to favour individuals because they are top officials in the ruling All Progressives Congress.
“We are not Accusing the minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation of committing any infractions, but based on the media statements that her office has issued so far, the attempt to convince Nigerians that it is lawful to keep public fund in private account is just like the polemic promoted by one erstwhile civilian governor of Kano State in the second Republic,” HURIWA said.
“It is incongruous and indeed puerile to say that on one hand, the EFCC arrested one official of the same government over allegations of payments of public funds into private accounts but on the same breath, a cabinet level minister is inundating the public space with her submission that keeping public money in private account of someone heading a certain portfolio, is appropriate.
“This sounds illogical and fallacious and by the way, if as the Minister argued that under a certain civil service rule, public funds can be kept under private accounts, why then does the financial regulations Act governing public service in Nigeria say the exact opposite?”
HURIWA cited that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, has raised alarm over what she termed “disgruntled elements” trying to dent her reputation following the Federal Government ongoing N44.8 Billion Fraud investigation in NSIPA.
Edu asserted that these elements have been trying to connect her to a phantom fraud and are behind this latest catastrophe by showing on social media a memo from the ministry to the Accountant-General of the Federation approving for payment, of the sum of N585,189,500.00 Renewed Hope Grant for Vulnerable Groups, for four states, which is currently going viral on the social media.
Edu’s Special Assistant on Media, Rasheed Zubair, has quoted Edu as saying, “For the avoidance of doubt, the said N585,198,500.00 was approved, and it is meant for the implementation of grants to vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states.
“We must, however, note that GVG was first launched in Kogi state where recipients testified. Akwa Ibom and Cross River were launched in December 2023, Kogi in November, and others will be launched in the coming weeks.
“The general public is invited to note that the Renewed Hope Grant for Vulnerable Groups is one of the social intervention schemes of the federal government, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.”
While responding to the allegations, the Minister called on Nigerians to dismissed these allegations claiming that some sponsored aggrivedc elements in the past few days have been trying to damage her reputation and put her integrity in the mud following the Federal Government ongoing probe of 44.8 Billion Fraud in NSIPA.