The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta, has provided explanation on why she directed the disbursement of N585,198,500.00 into a personal account.
A leaked memo signed by Edu that went viral at the weekend showed that she directed the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to disburse N585,198,500.00 into the bank account of one Bridget Oniyelu.
The document also showed that the payment of the N585.198 million grant, meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun and Lagos states, was made into Oniyelu’s account.
However, in response to the publicity the revelation generated on the social media, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mr. Rasheed Zubair, expressed dismay over what he described as the “evil machination of disgruntled elements trying to smear the reputation of the minister.”
In a statement made available to newsmen on Friday in Abuja, he said the disbursement “went through due process.”
He said, “The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation notes with dismay, on a memo from the Ministry to the Accountant-General of the Federation approving for payment, of the sum of N585,189,500.00 Renewed Hope Grant for Vulnerable Groups for four states, which is currently being circulated in the social media.
“It is glaring that the same sponsored disgruntled elements in the past few days have been trying to smear the Honourable Minister, Dr Betta Edu, and stain her integrity following the Federal Government ongoing 44.8 billion fraud in NSIPA.
“These elements have been trying to link her to a phantom fraud and are behind this latest misadventure.
“However, this latest vile effort of theirs is another infantile blackmail doomed for evisceration.
“For the avoidance, the said N585,198,500.00 was approved, and it is meant for the implementation of grants to vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states.
“We must, however, note that GVG was first launched in the Kogi state where recipients testified.
“Akwa Ibom and Cross River were launched in December 2023, Kogi in November, and others will be launched in the coming weeks.
“The general public is invited to note that the Renewed Hope Grant for Vulnerable Groups is one of the social intervention schemes of the Federal Government, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.”
He added, “Oniyelu Bridget is the Project Accountant for GVG from the Department of Finance and it is legal in civil service for a staff, the project accountant to be paid and use same funds legally and retire same with all receipts and evidence after project or programme is completed.
“The evil motive of the mischief-makers behind the circulation of the memo is well-known and should be ignored.
“Of note is the fact that since assumption of duty about five months ago, the minister has religiously visited different parts of the country like Borno, Zamfara, Niger, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa, FCT, Lagos, Cross River, among others, and this is done to ensure she delivers on her mandate and she has remained focused, unbiased and committed to duty.”