N44bn Saga: PDP Demands Betta Edu’s Sack, Prosecution

…Alleges Involvement of Two Top APC Leaders

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded the immediate sack and prosecution of the embattled Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu over the alleged looting of N44 billion National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA) fund, including the N585.2 million audaciously diverted by her to a private account.

In a press release by Debo Ologunagba, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, the PDP said “the exposed fraud in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs is just a tip of the iceberg of the unprecedented treasury looting, unbridled stealing and plundering of resources going on in the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration which has practically brought the nation’s economy to its knees.

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“Is it not tragic and heartbreaking that a Minister entrusted with public funds to support millions of poor Nigerians who have been impoverished by the APC, turned around to divert hundreds of millions of naira meant for the wellbeing of the poor?

“The continuing stay of Betta Edu as Minister is therefore provocative and amounts to stealing from a people and daring them to do their worst. It further confirms our Party’s position that the Tinubu-led APC government is a cesspit of corruption; a haven for thieves and treasury looters.

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“Nigerians were shocked by reports of how Betta Edu and the suspended National Coordinator of NSIPA, Halima Shehu allegedly engaged in brazen looting of billions of Naira while Nigerians who the funds are meant for are deprived and abandoned to excruciating hardship and misery.

“Equally disheartening is the reports of how Betta Edu allegedly directed the transfer of the N585.2 million NSIPA money into the private account of one of her fronts in clear violation of Chapter 7, Section 713 of Nigeria’s Financial Regulations, 2009 which expressly prohibits the payment of public money into a private account.

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“For emphasis, Section 713 of Nigeria’s Financial Regulations, 2009 provides that “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 a fraudulent intention”.

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The apparent fraudulent intention by Betta Edu in diverting public funds into a private account; an action which was appropriately declared illegal by the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, is consistent with APC’s character and proclivity for plundering of public resources.

The lack of remorse by the Minister especially in her lame attempt to justify the illegal diversion of funds meant for poor Nigerians is also consistent with the insensitivity, heartlessness, impunity and criminal audacity inherent in the APC administration.

A very disturbing information in the public domain indicates that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs is allegedly working with two prominent APC officials in the Presidency and the National Assembly, who are alleged to be using Ministers and other officials of government to divert billions of naira to personal accounts.

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Additional information reveals that there are moves to use the suspended National Coordinator of NSIPA, Halima Shehu as a scapegoat so as to sweep the involvement of the Minister and the said APC leaders under the carpet.

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What Nigerians demand of President Tinubu at the moment is to demonstrate commitment to the fight against corruption by immediately sacking Betta Edu, hand her over for investigation, prosecution and take steps to recover the stolen N44 billion and channel the fund recovered towards the wellbeing of Nigerians.

The PDP also demands that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) immediately invite Betta Edu for questioning and take further steps to commence a system-wide investigation into the alleged large-scale corruption and treasury looting pervading in Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) under the APC administration.

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