A former member of the House of Representatives from Akwa Ibom State, Hon Peter Umoh, has described the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, who was suspended by President Bola Tinubu over approval of payment of N585m to a private account as a victim of systemic failure.
Umoh who spoke during an interview with Vanguard on Tuesday in Uyo, stressed that no politician could divert public funds without it being facilitated by civil servants.
He, therefore called on President Tinubu to ensure that those who facilitated the diversion of the money as well as all other Federal Ministries were investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
He said: “Let me tell you, the civil servants are the ones who facilitated the diversion of that money. I am saying this with emphasis that no politician can take one more kobo from government money without the facilitation of the civil servants.
“From my knowledge of the civil service I am saying that Dr Betta Edu is just a victim of systemic failure. Perhaps what is reported She has done is what they used to do in that Ministry and perhaps in all other Ministries over the years which were not questioned.
“It is only when one or few persons feel aggrieved that they can blow it open. Certainly few persons within that Ministry must have felt shortchanged and they decided to blow the matter open. So it is a Nigeria problem which must be solved holistically.
“My position therefore is that investigation should not be limited to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. President Tinubu should direct the EFCC to undertake similar investigation in all other Federal Ministries so as to know whether what has happened is perculiar to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.”
Umoh who was also a one-time Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, advised that Betta Edu should be quickly investigated, cautioned and allowed to go back and do her work, stressing, “She should have learnt her lesson”
While commending President Tinubu for acting “somewhat promptly’, Umoh, however noted that Nigerians expect him (Tinubu) to act even more promptly to the release of monies stolen by Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Directors, and Civil servants generally during the last administration.