$24M recovered during investigation into Nigeria’s poverty minister

Francis Akhalbey April 10, 2024
Betta Edu has been suspended by President Bola Tinubu -- Photo Credit: @edu_betta

Authorities in Nigeria have announced they have recovered $24 million after they launched an investigation into the West African nation’s poverty minister over the transfer of $640,000 in public funds into a personal bank account, per BBC.

As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, the country’s Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation minister, Betta Edu, drew the ire of the public after she approved the $640,000 transfer. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu suspended Dr. Edu in January and ordered an investigation into her ministry. 

The West African nation’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is overseeing that investigation. The law enforcement agency said that their investigation into Dr. Edu’s ministry has led them to identify “many angles” to look into.

“As it is now, we are investigating over 50 bank accounts that we have traced money into. That is no child’s play. That’s a big deal,” the agency’s chairman, Ola Olukoyede, said in the latest edition of the EFCC’s monthly e-magazine, EFCC Alert.

Olukoyede also called on Nigerians to be patient as the agency continues to look into the case. “We are exploring so many discoveries that we have stumbled upon in our investigation. If it is about seeing people in jail, well let them wait, everything has a process to follow,” he said.

Olukoyede said the funds that have been recouped were “already in the coffers of the federal government.”

In the wake of the outcry over the bank transfer, Dr. Edu denied any wrongdoing. Her ministry also claimed that though she gave the green light for the money to be transferred into a personal account, the funds were meant for the “implementation of grants to vulnerable groups.” That initiative falls under the government’s National Social Investments Programmes (NSIP).

The funds in question were to be transferred into the personal bank account of a certain Bridget Oniyelu – the accountant for the government’s Grants for Vulnerable Groups initiative, per BBC. Dr. Edu, in the leaked document, is said to have ordered a senior treasury official to execute the transfer, local media reported.

The public outrage also stemmed from the funds not being transferred into a government account but a personal one. President Tinubu in a statement tasked the EFCC to conduct a “thorough investigation into all aspects of the financial transactions involving the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.”

President Tinubu also entreated Dr. Edu, who is a close ally, to cooperate with investigations and asked for a reform of government agencies that oversee National Social Investments Programmes (NSIP) as they had to “win back lost public confidence.”

Ministers being suspended hardly happens in Nigeria, and Dr. Edu is the first to suffer such fate after President Tinubu was sworn in last year, BBC reported. Only two ministers were fired by former president Muhammadu Buhari in his eight-year tenure.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 10, 2024


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates