Nigerian President Bola Tinubu on Monday suspended Betta Edu, minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, over a controversy about a recent financial transaction made by her office.
The suspension took immediate effect, to allow for a thorough investigation by an anti-graft agency, presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale said in a statement. This development was in line with the president’s “commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability in the management of the commonwealth of Nigerians,” the statement said. Edu came under heavy criticism after she allegedly ordered the transfer of over 585.2 million naira (over 661,374 U.S. dollars) aimed to be disbursed to “vulnerable” citizens into the private bank account of a civil servant. The minister was alleged to have issued a memo to the country’s accountant-general in late December 2023, ordering the said amount to be paid into the civil servant’s private bank account, according to local media reports.
In light of the development, Tinubu ordered the suspended minister to immediately hand over to the permanent secretary of the ministry and “fully cooperate with the investigating authorities as they conduct their investigation.” The Nigerian leader also tasked a panel that is headed by the coordinating minister of the economy and minister of finance to, among other functions, conduct a comprehensive diagnostic of the financial architecture and framework of the country’s social investment programs.