The Presidency on Monday urged Nigerians to exercise patience and restraint in view of the ongoing investigation into the alleged embezzlement of N585 million by the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Dr. Betta Edu. The presidency also warned against a media trial.
Reacting to recent revelations on the subject, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, disclosed that President Bola Tinubu during the previous administration of Muhammadu Buhari had authorized the release of N3 billion to build the National Social Register validate.
Under Buhari, the social registry was established for cash transfers and other social investment initiatives.
A memo dated December 18, 2023 from the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, entitled “Transfer of Approval; Subject: Call to utilize N3,000,000,000.00 (Three Billion Naira) from the Covid-19 Palliative Fund for Verification of National Social Register,” read:
“The above topic relates to. Please note that Mr. President has approved the expenditure of only N3,000,000,000.00 (Three Billion Naira) of the Covid-19 Palliative Fund for verification of the National Social Register. Please accept the assurance of my highest regards.
But speaking to The PUNCH on Monday evening, Onanuga said: “The President has directed the EFCC to investigate the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and all these matters are already being investigated.
“I am sure the EFCC has seen that memo from the Office of the Chief of Army Staff and they are acting on these findings.
'Let's let them do their job. Let us not conduct duplicate investigations into the same issue, or media trial on an issue currently under investigation. Nigerians must exercise patience.
“When the EFCC is done with their findings, they will submit their report to the President who will then take action based on the outcome of the investigation.”
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation under Betta Edu paid a company owned by Home Affairs Minister Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo a total of N438.1 million for consultancy services under the contract, according to an online website.
According to reports, New Planet Project Limited was among the consultants who received contracts from the N3 billion the suspended minister doled out for the National Social Register contract.
It has been reported that the likes of Fabunmi Olanipekun & Co., who received N419.5 million; Vintsolve Global Consult; Periscope advice; Blue Trend Enterprise; Laitop Dynamics Interlink Services; Memak Nigeria Limited; MC Van Management Consult Limited; Danzinger Nigeria Limited; and Blue Trend Enterprise received N277.8 million.