Main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, on Sunday, charged President Bola Tinubu to immediately sack and prosecute the embattled Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu over alleged money laundering.
Edu came under heavy criticism last week after a memo in which she directed the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, to transfer N585 million to a private account owned by one Oniyelu Bridget, who the ministry claimed currently serves as the Project Accountant, Grants for Vulnerable Groups, leaked.
The instructions for the payment are contained in the leaked memo dated December 20, 2023.
But PDP in its reaction in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, described the development as tragic and heartbreaking.
The party lamented that a minister entrusted with public funds to support millions of poor Nigerians turned around to allegedly 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,” the statement partly read.
PDP expressed shock that Edu and the suspended National Coordinator of NSIPA, Halima Shehu, allegedly engaged in the looting of billions of Naira while Nigerians whom the funds are meant for are deprived and abandoned to excruciating hardship.
The statement added, “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.
“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.
“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”.
It therefore charged “President Tinubu 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.”