Following the suspension of the National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the agency, Hajia Halima Shehu, by President Bola Tinubu, Dr Betta Edu has been accused in the unfolding controversy.
In a statement titled "Re-Betta Edu Linked to N3bn NSIPA Fraud Scandal; Baseless Accusations Aimed at Diverting Anti-Graft Agency’s Focus," and signed by her spokesperson, Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair, Edu vehemently denied any participation in the alleged corruption, dismissing it as false and unfounded.
Edu asserted that the accusations were orchestrated by fifth columnists with the sole intention of tarnishing her well-earned reputation and integrity amid the ongoing EFCC investigation into the NSIPA scandal.
The minister noted that in her four months in office, she neither sought nor authorized the withdrawal of N3 billion from the NSIPA funds.
She categorically stated her non-involvement in the current challenges faced by the NSIPA leadership, insisting that her name should not be dragged into the ongoing suspension and investigations as sanctioned by the president.
The statement read:”The Honourable Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, is fully aware of the baseless allegations, suspected to be instigated by certain individuals with ulterior motives, aimed at implicating her in the ongoing investigation into the NSIPA scandal by the anti-graft agency.”
“The allegations against the minister were spurious oand suspected to have been sponsored by some fifth columnists aimed at dragging her name into the ongoing investigations of NSIPA scandal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“Ordinarily, there is no substance in the said publication currently in some online media and does not deserve a response, but there is a need to set the record straight for Nigerians and followers of the current development in NSIPA under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to be properly informed,” the statement read in part.”
According to the statement, at no time did Edu request any funds, let alone N3 billion, since her assumption as minister from NSIPA.
It added that the verification of the National Social Register,NSR, which was quoted online, was approved by President Bola Tinubu and the Federal Executive Council,FEC in line with the Renewed Hope Mandate to expand the NSR as well as imbue it with integrity.