The presidency has initiated an investigation into the controversial transfer of a N585.189 million grant designated for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states into a private account. The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, has faced backlash, with civil society organizations calling for her removal and an inquiry by anti-corruption agencies.
In response to the allegations, the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, confirmed that the matter is under investigation, and appropriate action will be taken. The controversy arose from a leaked document showing Edu directing the disbursement of the funds into a private account belonging to Bridget Mojisola Oniyelu. The minister defended the payment, claiming it followed due process and was legal within the civil service.
Civil society organizations, including the Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) Global Resource Initiative and Activists for Good Governance, have called for a thorough investigation. They emphasized the importance of upholding anti-corruption laws and ensuring accountability in public funds’ disbursement. The Executive Director of HURMA, Buna Olaitan Isiak, urged President Tinubu to set up a panel to probe the matter, while others stressed the need for accountability to prevent impunity.
Expressing concerns about the violation of financial regulations, Tunde Salman, the National Coordinator of Good Governance Team, emphasized the importance of anti-corruption agencies taking appropriate action. Farooq Kperogi, a Nigerian professor based in the United States, highlighted the potential loss of moral high ground for President Tinubu if Edu is not held accountable for the alleged financial irregularities.
As the investigation unfolds, there is growing pressure on the presidency to address the issue transparently, demonstrating a commitment to combating corruption and upholding the rule of law.