April 13, 2024

Don’t hesitate to reinstate Betta Edu, if…, CSOs urge Tinubu

Probe payment of N585.2m grant into private account or face legal action, SERAP tells Tinubu

By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

A coalition of ten (10) rights organizations under the aegis of Civil Society Groups Against Defamation Initiative, CSGADI, has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to promptly reinstate Dr. Betta Edu, the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, should the ongoing investigations exonerate her from any wrongdoing.

The call came amid the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) thorough inquiry into suspicious financial activities within the ministry and its sub-parastatals.

The investigation centres primarily on fund transactions that occurred before Dr. Edu’s tenure began, raising concerns over narratives linking her to the alleged corruption.

The Chairman of the Niger-Delta Peace Initiative, Peter Asuquo Bassey, speaking on behalf of the coalition during a press briefing in Abuja on Friday, asserted that the ministry’s questionable transactions should not be conflated with Dr. Edu’s administration.

He noted that such misrepresentation was not only unfair but also served to unjustly tarnish her image; stressing that Dr. Edu had, in fact, questioned the transfer of over N40 billion Naira, which had been approved before her arrival.

“Once Dr. Edu requested more clarifications, all hell broke loose,” Bassey explained, highlighting the resistance she encountered from entrenched interests within the ministry.

Moreover, the coalition clarified that Dr. Edu neither owns the private account implicated in the N585 million controversy nor is she a signatory to it.

Bassey continued, “It is also evident that she is not linked to the billions wrongly associated with her by some media outlets.

“As we await the full investigation report, we urge the public not to be misled by those intent on damaging Dr. Betta Edu’s well-established reputation.

“We trust that the President will handle this matter decisively, with focus and determination. He should not be influenced by a malicious smear campaign and the collusion of a group who want things to continue as usual. We hope that only the guilty will face consequences, and if Dr. Edu is cleared, the President should not delay in reinstating her.”

The coalition emphasized Dr. Edu’s track record and her advocacy for operational transparency, which they believe has unsettled those accustomed to the less scrupulous practices of the ministry.

They unanimously urged the public to await the outcomes of the EFCC’s investigation with patience and discernment, emphasizing a shared commitment to justice and accountability.

The briefing drew a strong attendance from representatives of various organizations, notably including Kayode Arimoro from the Sustainable National Movement; Yusuf Ibrahim from the North-South PEACE Initiative; Igwe Ude-Umanta, National President of Guardians of Democracy and Development; Hon. Stephen Eriba, National Secretary of Independent Public Service Watch, and Comrade Solomon Adodo from Rising-Up for a United Nigeria.

The gathering also included Princess Michelle Peter, National President of the Nigeria Female Youth Organisation; Al-mustapha Abdullahi, Coordinator of the National Development Alliance; Yusuf Garuba, National Chairman of Arewa Youth for Peace & Equity; Muhammad Awalu Majiri, National President of the Northern Youth Congress; and Danesi Momoh, Deputy National Chairman of Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative.