Presidency says the President Bola Tinubu-led administration has no sacred cows and will spare nobody found culpable in the ongoing investigation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and its Social Investment Programmes.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Ajuri Ngelale, stated this when he featured on TVC’s Politics on Sunday.
While suspending the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, on January 7, Tinubu had directed the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission 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.”
He also tasked a panel headed by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mr Wale Edun, to, among other functions, “conduct a comprehensive diagnostic on the financial architecture and framework of the social investment programmes to conclusively reform the relevant institutions and programmes in a determined bid to eliminate all institutional frailties for the exclusive benefit of disadvantaged households and win back lost public confidence in the initiative.”
Providing context to the ongoing probe, Ngelale said, “The President has given full instruction to the EFCC chairman to not only conduct a thorough investigation.
“The way the President would direct such an investigation is to say that nobody, no name, should be left out if they are found wanting in the situation. No sacred cows at all.
“Anywhere this investigation takes the EFCC and other investigating authorities. That is where the investigation must go and the President will take action accordingly.”
Edu became the focal point of Nigerians’ ire after a leaked memo on December 20 revealed that she directed the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, to transfer N585m to a private account owned by one Oniyelu Bridget, who the ministry claimed currently serves as the Project Accountant, Grants for Vulnerable Groups.
The development came just as ministers prepared for their first performance assessment by the end of January.
In a statement signed on January 6 by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Muhammad Idris, said the Federal Government affirmed that it is “determined to unravel the truth as it relates to this matter,” promising that “appropriate action will be taken to ensure that any breaches and infractions are identified and decisively punished.”
Speaking further, Ngelale added that the President has “since made it clear to all members of his administration, within the Federal Executive Council and private meetings, that he will not tolerate any form of indiscipline corruption, dereliction of duty or any other form of incompetence.”
Tinubu “is going to let time go by. If he fully understands that somebody is not up to the task, he will fix the problem and fix it as quickly as possible,” he added.
On January 12, days after suspending Edu, the President suspended all Social Investment Programmes administered by the National Social Investment Programme Agency, including the school feeding programme, for six weeks.
A day later, he approved the establishment of a Special Presidential Panel to be led by Mr Wale Edun. The SPP, comprised of ministers representing strategic sectors and would ensure a multi-disciplinary approach to the reform effort, included the coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance as Chairman, and the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate as member.
Other members are the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu; the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Muhammad Idris; Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijjani; and the Minister of State for Youth, Ayodele Olawande.