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Presidency calls for restraint amid investigation into N585m misappropriation allegations

Amid the ongoing investigation into the alleged misappropriation of N585 million by the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Dr. Betta Edu, the Presidency has urged Nigerians to exercise restraint and patience, cautioning against engaging in a media trial.

Read also:Betta Edu released, to report to EFCC daily

Mr. Bayo Onanuga, the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, emphasized the need for a thorough investigation and warned against prejudicing the case through premature judgments. Onanuga revealed that President Bola Tinubu had approved the release of N3 billion for the verification of the National Social Register during the administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

A memo dated December 18, 2023, from the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, titled ‘Conveyance of approval; Re: appeal to use N3,000,000,000.00 from the Covid-19 palliative fund for verification of the national social register,’ stated that President Buhari had sanctioned the expenditure.

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Onanuga stated, “The President has directed the EFCC to investigate the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, and all these matters are under investigation already.”

He emphasized the importance of allowing the EFCC to conduct a thorough investigation, avoiding a parallel inquiry or media trial. Onanuga assured the public that once the EFCC concludes its findings, a report will be submitted to the President, who will take appropriate action based on the investigation’s outcome.

Recent reports alleged that a company owned by the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, received payments totaling N438.1 million from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs under Betta Edu for consultancy services related to the national social register contract. Several other companies were reported to have benefitted from the N3 billion allocated for the same contract. The Presidency has urged the public to await the EFCC’s findings before drawing conclusions on the matter.

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