Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, who was suspended by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is still yet to officially handover.
According to Nigerian Tribune, despite the president’s directive for a formal handover to the Permanent Secretary, the process appears to be stalled.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, had announced that Edu was to hand over her responsibilities immediately and cooperate with the investigating authorities.
However, within minutes of the suspension announcement, it was observed that Edu had left her office, and her security and protocol officers were recalled, as is customary in such situations.
Officials at the ministry indicated that the Permanent Secretary, who is expected to take over, cannot act solely on reports circulating on social media or unconfirmed news.
An official memo on the suspension and subsequent directives is required for the process to be set in motion.
During a visit by Nigerian Tribune to the Permanent Secretary’s office, his staff stated that he was unavailable to comment, emphasizing his commitment to due process.
The scene at the ministry was telling of the current situation. Edu’s office was locked, and the usual hustle and bustle in the corridors seemed to have diminished. Staff members, seen discussing in groups, appeared unsettled by the unfolding events.
While federal workers from other ministries declined to comment, Comrade Abe Fisayo Makanjuola, Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) FCT Council, expressed his support for the president’s directive.
He said, “It’s the right development because the president is just coming into power; we have one year to assess him fully, and he has started on a very good note.
“The diversion of money is a very bad thing to do by the Minister who has just been appointed, and if eventually an investigation is concluded and we find out that it is true, the president has taken the right step in the right direction by suspending her while the investigation is still on.
“This is a very good thing to do, unlike what we had in the former regime, where, in a series of scandals, nobody was talking, nobody was suspending anybody.
“Look at the former Minister of Aviation (Hadi Sirika); what of the investigation labelled against him has been done? Well, he’s not part of Tinubu’s government presently, but it’s still the APC government.
“We believe the Presidency can still extend that particular long arm of the law to that particular personality and other notable Nigerians who have been involved in the act for that very long time. We hope to see better things in the days ahead.”
A federal civil servant, Christopher Emmanuel, observed that the issue of the diversion of funds into private accounts is still an allegation.
He said, “It’s an allegation right now until the court says that the woman (the minister) is guilty. But the decision made by Mr President is a good one in the right direction because the Ministry of Humanitarian has messed up; they need sanity in that entire ministry.
“The Ministry is young, so as a result of that and for the record to be set straight, the suspension of Betta Edu is a good thing that could happen in Nigeria. Like before, they will tell the president that they should suspend some ministers who do not perform.
“They will not listen, but this president is a listening president, and this decision is okay with me as a person.”