Tinubu suspends Betta Edu

President Bola Tinubu on Monday suspended the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, following controversies about financial transactions she authorised in her ministry.

The suspension according to a statement by presidential spokesperson Ajuri Ngelale is with immediate effect.

The suspension followed criticisms that trailed her leaked letter instructing the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, to pay N585 million into a private account managed by United Bank of Africa (UBA) and owned by Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola.

Edu, through a statement by her media aide, Rasheed Zubair, confirmed the payment and said the fund was for the payment of grants to vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states.

She, however, described allegations of diverting the fund as blackmail.

Edu claimed that Mojisola was the project Accountant for GVG from the ministry’s finance department, adding that it was legal for such an officer to be paid the fund.

The claim contravenes Nigeria’s Public Sector Financial Regulation Act (2009).

Section 713 of the Act (under Chapter Seven) states: “Personal money shall in no circumstances be paid into a government bank account, nor shall any public money be paid into a private bank account. An officer who pays public money into a private account is deemed to have done so with fraudulent intention.”

Reacting to the minister’s action, Tinubu said his decision to suspend her was in line with his pledges and commitment to uphold integrity, transparency, and accountability in managing the commonwealth of Nigerians.

Tinubu also directed the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to thoroughly investigate all financial transactions involving the ministry and its agencies.