Leaders of the Arewa Integrity Group have asked the minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, to avoid being distracted by her critics.
It claimed uncovering a plot to link the minister to the alleged diversion of N44 billion at the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA)
The group’s convener, Alhaji Ibrahim Sambo, who spoke at a news conference in Kano, urged the minister not to be distracted by the desperate bid to link her to the purported fraud even as it commended her for doing a great job.
Sambo said, “As you are all aware, there have been multiple reports on some unsavory actions in one of the agencies under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. This has led to the just and proper suspension of Ms Halima Shehu, the former national coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme Agency’s, NSIPA.
“Equally important, we are very happy that the government has also invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the disappearance of billions of naira from this agency established to reduce the suffering of the masses.
“We are, however, alarmed that rather than allow the federal government’s investigation to go on unhindered, there has been a well-orchestrated effort to muddy the water and create chaos at the entire ministry,” Sambo said.
The group also faulted the use of the media to blackmail the minister by implicating her with the alleged fund diversion.
“Our investigations have revealed that the campaign to drag Dr Edu in the multi-billion-naira NSIPA fraud scandal is based on deliberate falsehood and disinformation aimed at diverting the attention of the EFCC.
“We hope the EFCC investigation will soon provide answers to the vital questions under whose authority the Former National Coordinator of the NSIPA withdrew N44.4 billion from the government account and diverted the same into various private accounts.”
The group also lauded the EFCC for swinging into action to recover the alleged diverted funds.
“We refuse to allow fake news and propaganda to cloud our judgement, even as we call on various public accountability groups to remain
We commend the EFCC for its efforts so far towards recovering the funds that were fraudulently diverted from NSIPA. This is a positive step towards ensuring that justice is served and the culprits are held accountable for their actions.
“We note that it was Dr Betta Edu, who shares the ideals of President Bola Tinubu’s zero-tolerance policy towards corruption, who brought this fraudulent activity to the attention of the government and the EFCC once the staff in the Accounting Unit sounded the alarm,” he said.
The group urged all persons involved in the matter to account for their actions.