The 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, has called on President Bola Tinubu to ensure that those implicated in the alleged scandal involving the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, face appropriate consequences.
In a statement posted on his X-handle platform on Thursday, Obi welcomed the suspension of the minister but stressed the need for a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the matter beyond the minister’s suspension. He emphasized the urgency of addressing public sector corruption with the severity it warrants.
Expressing disappointment in the misuse of a ministry intended to address the needs of the suffering masses, Obi urged the government to go beyond mere suspension and conduct a detailed investigation. He asserted that the alleged diversion of public funds meant for poverty alleviation is not only immoral but also insensitive, particularly during a period of severe suffering among the people.
Obi cautioned against taking the matter lightly and emphasized that the suspension of the minister should not be a superficial action but should serve as a starting point to hold all those culpable accountable.
He stated, “The investigation must be comprehensive so that all those culpable are brought to book.” Drawing attention to the simultaneous investigations into the previous minister’s alleged misappropriation of N37 billion, Obi raised concerns about the ministry possibly being used as a conduit to siphon public funds while using the poor as a facade.
Obi called on the Tinubu administration to use these cases as an opportunity to initiate a thorough, system-wide investigation into all reported cases of fraud and corruption among high government officials in the country.
President Tinubu had suspended Edu on Monday amid controversies surrounding financial transactions she authorized in her ministry. The suspension came with immediate effect and was related to the approval of payment of hundreds of millions of naira into private accounts of civil servants. Edu faced criticism for directing the transfer of N585.2 million into the private bank account of a civil servant responsible for grants for vulnerable Nigerians. The minister issued a memo in December 2023 instructing the payment into the civil servant’s private bank account. (NAN)