Three Women Linked to N84.1bn Fraud in Barely Five-Year-old Humanitarian Ministry

Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation may be described as a cesspool of corruption if allegations of corrupt practices levelled against three women who superintended affairs in the beleaguered ministry can be proved.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may have to investigate a diversion of about N84b.

The ministry founded in August 2019 by former President Muhammadu Buhari was headed by Sadiya Umar-Farouq until the end of the Buhari-led administration in May 2023.

The second minister appointed by President Bola Tinubu is equally a woman, Betta Edu.

The ministry has been in the news following allegations of huge financial impropriety levelled against the former and the sitting ministers.

Umar-Farouq is linked to the diversion of N37.1bn while Edu is linked to a fresh N3 billion.

Also, the National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA), Halima Shehu, was picked up this week in connection with the movement of N44 billion from NSIPA account to some suspicious accounts within the last four days in Dec. 2023.

The Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Edu has denied the alleged diversion of N3 billion from the account of NSIPA, describing it as spurious.

NSIPA was created in 2016 under the administration of former President Muhammadu to address socio-economic inequalities and alleviate poverty among Nigerians.

The programme was founded on four pillars namely the N-POWER Programme, the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme and the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme.

Each of the pillars was designed to empower the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians to attain an acceptable standard of living irrespective of their locations nationwide.

However, the essence of the programme seems to be defeated as corruption allegations have continued to rock the ministry in charge of the programme.

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