The office of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has denied the involvement of its Minister, Betta Edu, in the ongoing investigations of National Social Investment Program Agency scandal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The National Programme Manager, Renewed Hope Shelter for the Poor, IDP and Refugees, Mrs Chidimma Makuachukwu, on behalf of the minister, made the announcement in a press statement issued on Thursday.
The release was titled: “Re-Betta Edu Fingered In N3bn NSIPA Fraud Scandal; A Tissue of Lies, Spurious Allegation To Divert Anti-Graft Agency’s Attention”.
According to the statement, the news is a misinformation initiated for clout by online perpetrators and to distract the anti-graft agency from being effective in their investigations.
It read, “The attention of the Honourable Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu has been drawn to spurious allegations suspected to have been sponsored by some fifth columnists aimed at dragging the hard-earned reputation and integrity of the Honourable Minister into the ongoing investigations of NSIPA scandal by the anti-graft agency.
“Ordinarily, there is no substance in the said publication currently in some online media, and does not deserve a response, but there is a need to set the record straight for Nigerians and followers of the current development in NSIPA under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to be properly informed. This is necessary because social media, in recent times, has been riddled with lots of fake and unsubstantiated news. The desire to drag traffic, which makes a desperate living for many bloggers has spurred several online content makers to throw caution into the wind; and rev in propaganda aimed at attacking government appointees.
“There was no time the Minister, Dr. Betta Edu requested any funds, needless to mention withdrawal of such amount of money to the tune of N3billion since her (Dr. Betta) assumption of office as the Minister from National Social Investment Programme Agency’s (NSIPA) coffer in the last four months, albeit one month was quoted in the sponsored ‘Fake News’.
“The Verification of the National Social Register (NSR) as quoted in the said publication online, was approved not only by Mr. President but also by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in line with the Renewed Hope Mandate to expand the NSR as well as imbue it with integrity.
“The conclusion of the well-publicized verification Exercise led to the expansion of the National Social Register and the commencement of payment sequentially and directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to various beneficiaries.
“For the records, all the Programmes embarked by the Ministry under the current Minister, Dr. Betta Edu, thus far, including the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), Grants for Vulnerable Groups (GVG), and others secured the approval of Mr President.
“Again, let it be known that there was no time when the Ministry (Dr. Betta) withdrew any fund from the NSIPA account, let alone N3 billion without due diligence, and painstaking approval from the appropriate authorities.
“The Honourable Minister wishes to inform the general public that she has no hand in the current travails of the leadership of the NSIPA, therefore her good name should not be dragged into the ongoing suspension and investigations as approved by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The responsibility of providing services to vulnerable Nigerians and pulling 50 million out of the poverty index within 42 months in line with President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda has taken the Minister across the length and breadth of Nigeria and is achievable.
“Therefore, the Media (Online and Conventional) should not be used to drag the good name of the Honourable Minister into the current investigation in a bid to divert the attention of anti-graft agencies and other Nigerians.”