In the wake of the suspension of Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, Atiku Abubakar’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, has commended the move but insists it falls short of addressing the broader issue. Shaibu contends that the humanitarian affairs ministry has become a conduit for corruption within the APC government.
Edu faced suspension after a leaked memo exposed her involvement in transferring N585.2 million into a civil servant’s private account. While acknowledging the commendable suspension, Shaibu raises questions about the selection of Edu for such a sensitive role, emphasizing the need for competence over political considerations.
Drawing attention to additional leaks implicating Edu’s ministry in questionable transactions, Shaibu calls for a thorough investigation into those remotely involved. He highlights instances of financial dealings benefiting the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, and others under the dubious Renewed Hope Initiative.
Shaibu emphasizes the need for a comprehensive reform of the humanitarian affairs ministry and other intervention programs that have allegedly become a source of financial exploitation for those in power. He points out that the ongoing probe into the previous Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq, for a N37 billion fraud underscores the urgency for immediate action.
The Atiku aide criticizes the mismanagement of funds during the COVID-19 lockdown, citing Farouq’s implementation of the school feeding program despite school closures. He questions the credibility of claims by Edu regarding fund disbursement to households during the Yuletide, alleging that money intended for the poor is being misappropriated.
Shaibu asserts that the corruption scandal goes beyond Betta Edu, extending to other government offices like the Office of the SSA to the President on SDGs, led by Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire. He calls for an investigation into allegations of corruption within this office and highlights the need for a comprehensive framework for developmental projects to prevent arbitrary sharing of resources.
In the context of the alleged mismanagement of funds saved from the removal of petrol subsidy, Shaibu criticizes the government’s handling of palliative and intervention projects. He calls on President Bola Tinubu to introduce transparent frameworks for such projects and address the reported discrepancies in rice palliative distribution.
In concluding his statement, Shaibu denounces the alleged exploitation of poverty and hunger for political control, characterizing it as “the height of evil” and a betrayal of the vulnerable masses.