The 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party , Mr Peter Obi says President Bola Tinubu must ensure that those culpable in the alleged scandal involving the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu are brought to book.
Obi said in a write-up in his X-handle platform on Thursday that the government should go beyond the suspension of the minister, which he described as a welcomed development, and carry out a comprehensive investigation into the matter.
According to him, the government must give the problem of public sector corruption the severe urgency it deserves.
BRANDPOWER reports that Peter Obi expressed disappointment that a ministry created in good faith to attend to the plight of the suffering masses was being turned into a conduit pipe to steal from the poor as seen in the current and previous ministers of the ministry.
“I like to add my voice with most Nigerians concerned about accountability in government and judicious use of public funds, to welcome the suspension of Edu, and subsequent directives for her investigation.
“The investigation must be comprehensive so that all those culpable are brought to book,” Obi, a former two-term Anambra governor said.
Cautioning against taking the issue lightly, Obi added that the suspension of the minister should not be a window-dressing action but should be a peg to get at all those who are deserving of blame, punished just like the minister.
“By a sad coincidence, the alleged fraudulent diversion of N585 million of public money by Edu broke almost at the same moment that the minister who held the same portfolio in the last administration is being investigated for a whopping N37 billion misappropriation.
“The ministry may have been created by the system as a conduit pipe to siphon public funds while using the poor as a face.
“Equally worrisome and disgusting is the fact that the missing funds are meant for poverty alleviation in a time of severe suffering among the people.
“Unfortunately, the ruling elites can shamelessly convert, divert, or misappropriate such huge sums meant for the poor and cannot be trusted to address the severe poverty ravaging the people.
“It is not only immoral but also insensitive for those entrusted with funds for public welfare to steal from the poor,” the Labour Party leader said.
Obi called on the Tinubu administration to use these cases to initiate a thorough system-wide and systematic investigation of all reported cases of fraud and corruption among high government officials in the country.
BRANDPOWER recalls that President Tinubu on Monday, suspended Edu, following controversies about financial transactions she authorised in her ministry.
The suspension according to a statement by presidential spokesperson Ajuri Ngelale was with immediate effect.
The scandal included the approval of payment of hundreds of millions of naira into private accounts of civil servants.
Edu had come under criticism from Nigerians for ordering the transfer of N585.2 million into the private bank account of a civil servant, who is the accountant in charge of grants for Vulnerable Nigerians.
The minister had issued a memo to the Accountant General of the Federation in December 2023, ordering the said amount to be paid into the civil servant’s private bank account.