The suspended minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, faces an uncertain future, with indications suggesting that her return to office may be unlikely.
Speaking anonymously, sources from the presidency hinted that the alleged scandal surpasses what has been made public, and Edu might not resume her ministerial duties.
One official, who was not authorized to comment on the matter, told Punch, “What we have in that ministry is more than what we have seen. I can tell you that Edu may not return to the ministry or even return as a minister.
“She may not be the only one involved. But as it stands now, she should forget the idea or dream of her returning to the Federal Executive Council. In fact, she is gone.”
The scandal involves a comprehensive inquiry directed by President Bola Tinubu into the misappropriation of N585 million in the ministry.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating Edu for authorizing the funds to transfer into a private account.
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The probe also extends to former Minister Sadiya Umar-Farouq, under scrutiny for alleged N37.1 billion money laundering, and Halima Shehu, the suspended National Coordinator and CEO of the National Social Investment Programme.
ICPC, in its investigation, reportedly recovered over N50 billion from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs in 2023.
The funds, initially meant for vulnerable citizens, were blocked by ICPC during a naira scarcity period. Attempts to transfer the money into private bank accounts were thwarted, and the recovered funds were paid into the Central Bank of Nigeria.
An anonymous source shed light on the recovery: “During the naira scarcity between late 2022 and 2023, the ICPC under Prof Owasanoye blocked and recovered the sum of N50 billion from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
“The money was meant for the vulnerable and the poor people in the country, which the ministry could not distribute due to the scarcity of currency during the naira redesign period.”
As investigations intensify, EFCC detectives continue to question senior civil servants connected to the financial scandals in the ministry.