In light of the ongoing investigation into the alleged misappropriation of N585m by the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Dr Betta Edu, the Presidency on Monday called for restraint and patience from Nigerians, warning against a media trial.
The Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, who said this while responding to fresh revelations on the matter, disclosed that President Bola Tinubu had approved the release of N3bn to verify the National Social Register under the former administration of Muhammadu Buhari.
The social register was created for cash transfers and other social investment programmes under Buhari.
A memo dated 18th of December, 2023, from the Office of Chief of the Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, titled ‘Conveyance of approval; Re: appeal to use N3,000,000,000.00 (three billion naira) from the Covid-19 palliative fund for verification of the national social register,’ read: “The above subject refers. Please be informed that Mr President has approved the expenditure of N3,000,000,000.00 (three billion naira) only, from the Covid-19 Palliative Fund for verification of the National Social Register. Please accept the assurance of my highest regards.”
But speaking to Punchng on Monday night, Onanuga said, “The President has directed the EFCC to investigate the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and all these matters are under investigation already.
“I am sure that the EFCC had seen that memo from the Office of the Chief of Staff and they are doing something about these findings.
“Let us allow them to do their work. Let us not to be doing double investigation on the same issue or a media trial on an issue that is under investigation. Nigerians should exercise patience.
“When the EFCC is done with their findings, they will tender their report to the President who will then act on the result of the investigation.”
An online platform had reported that a company owned by the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, was paid a total of N438.1m by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation under Betta Edu for consultancy services from the contract.
New Planet Project Limited was reportedly one of the consultants awarded contracts from the N3bn doled out by the suspended minister for the national social register contract.
According to reports, other beneficiaries include Fabunmi Olanipekun & Co, which got N419.5m, Vintsolve Global Consult was also paid N558.8m, Periscope Consulting got N277m, Blue Trend Enterprise was reportedly paid N277.8m, Laitop Dynamics Interlink Services got N277m, Memak Nigeria Limited was paid N277m, MC Van Management Consult Limited got N275.8m, Danzinger Nigeria Limited got N275.8m , while Blue Trend Enterprises received N277.8m.