BettaGate: Tinubu suspends Humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation minister

President Bola Tinubu has suspended the minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, from office with immediate effect.

Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngalale, announced this in a statement Monday afternoon, advising the embattled minister to hand over to the permanent secretary while directing the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede “to conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of the financial transactions involving the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, as well as one or more agencies thereunder”.

Ms Edu got into trouble after a December 20, 2023 memo she approved, requesting the payments of about N600 million into a personal account, was made public.

The youngest minister in the present administration is said to have contravened sections of the country’s financial regulations aimed at preventing frauds.

The approved funds are said to be poverty intervention funds for four states, namely, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos and Ogun states.

In the memo which has now been confirmed by the humanitarian minister, she instructed the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Oluwatoyin Madein, to transfer the sum to the account of one Oniyelu Bridget as grant for vulnerable groups in the four states.

However, Ms Madein explained that although her office received a request from the humanitarian ministry to make certain payments, her office did not act on it because they do not make payments on behalf of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) for projects and programmes implemented by MDAs.

Reacting to public outcry, most of which requested her resignation from office, the humanitarian minister said there were plans to tarnish her image because of her exposition of fraud perpetuated by her predecessor, Sadiya Farouq, who is being probed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly laundering over N37 billion while in office.