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Nigerian president takes swift action in corruption probe, suspends humanitarian minister

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Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu, has suspended the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, following allegations of corruption related to the use of a private bank account for financial transactions in the government’s social welfare program.

The suspension, effective immediately, comes as the country’s anticorruption agency initiates a comprehensive investigation into all financial transactions within the ministry, extending to Nigeria’s entire social investment programs.

The decision to suspend Edu underscores President Tinubu’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability in managing Nigeria’s resources. The move follows recent reports that Edu directed 585 million naira ($663,000) worth of grants intended for vulnerable groups to be paid into a private account, a decision defended by the minister’s office as following due process. Edu vehemently denies any wrongdoing.

Criticism has mounted within Nigeria, particularly in the context of the government’s austerity measures impacting millions facing extreme poverty. Many Nigerians have expressed discontent with the use of a private bank account for the grants program, calling for Edu’s dismissal.

Simultaneously, Sadiya Umar Farouq, Edu’s predecessor, reported to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday as part of an investigation into alleged corruption during her tenure as minister. Farouq stated on social media that she was at the commission’s office to “offer clarifications in respect of some issues that the commission is investigating.” The developments signal a heightened focus on combating corruption within Nigeria’s government, as President Tinubu endeavors to fulfill his promise to address graft issues despite scrutiny around his own wealth and educational records.

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