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Nigerian President Suspends Poverty Minister Over Corruption

Nigerian President Suspends Poverty Minister Over Corruption

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Monday suspended his poverty minister Betta Edu. This followed allegations that she diverted public funds into a private bank account.

The measure against humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation minister Edu came days after another senior official was suspended over corruption charges.

Tinubu came to power last year promising to crack down on graft in Nigeria. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had called for Edu to be sacked and prosecuted “over the alleged looting of N44 billion (almost $50 million)”. This is from a social investment fund “meant for the wellbeing of the poor”. It claimed this included “N585.2 million audaciously diverted by her to a private account.”

Last week, Tinubu suspended the head of the social investment fund agency Halima Shehu over alleged corruption. She was arrested and released on bail, according to local media.

The PDP accused Tinubu of presiding over “unprecedented treasury looting.” But Tinubu’s spokesman said the president had suspended Edu in line with his “commitment to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability”.

Nigerian president ordered Nigeria’s anti-corruption body to investigate the ministry. He also vowed to make changes to “win back lost public confidence” in schemes for poor households, spokesman Ajuri Ngelale said.

Tinubu came to power last year promising reforms and swiftly suspended several officials. These included former central bank chief Godwin Emefiele and ex-head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Abdulrasheed Bawa. However, Edu is the first minister the president has suspended.

Nigeria remains one of the lowest ranked on Transparency International’s widely watched corruption perceptions index.

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