Since assuming office in August 2023, Nigeria’s suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, has found herself ensnared in a web of allegations, ranging from fraud to abuse of power. The 37-year-old politician, who previously served as the National Women Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), faced a turbulent tenure marked by a series of scandals that ultimately led to her suspension by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
1. The N585.2m Scandal:Edu’s most recent and damaging controversy revolves around the alleged diversion of N585.2m from the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA) to a private account. The NSIPA oversees vital government social welfare programs, making this scandal particularly egregious.
2. N3bn Loot:Accusations of looting billions from NSIPA, accompanied by the arrest of NSIPA’s Coordinator, Hajiya Halima Shehu, heightened concerns about Edu’s involvement in an alleged N37.1bn scandal.
3. Appointments into Non-Existent Entities: Edu faced criticism for making appointments into entities that no longer existed, notably appointing individuals to defunct World Bank projects shortly after assuming office.
4. N72.3m Flight Tickets to Kogi:A leaked memo exposed Edu’s alleged approval of N72.3m for flight tickets to Kogi, a state without an airport. The funds covered her advanced team’s expenses, raising questions about financial mismanagement.
5. Nepotism and Cronyism:Allegations of nepotism and cronyism surfaced, claiming Edu appointed friends, particularly from her medical colleagues, to key positions without transparent hiring processes.
6. 9 Months Unpaid N-Power Stipends: Edu faced controversy for delayed stipend payments, totaling nine months, to beneficiaries of the N-Power program, leading to accusations of politicization and favoritism based on party loyalty.
7. Conditional Cash Transfer Criticisms:The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program under Edu’s leadership faced scrutiny for opaque beneficiary selection, fund disbursement, and concerns about potential misuse for political purposes.
8. Usurpation of Power: Edu stirred controversy by making appointments into NSIPA, seemingly usurping the agency’s coordinator’s power and raising questions about due process.
Amid these controversies, President Tinubu’s decision to suspend Edu and order an investigation into her alleged involvement in the misappropriation of N585.189m signals a tumultuous end to her tenure as Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.