Edu Gate: Gbajabiamila Alleged Connection;  Tinubu Says Buhari Never Called Him Since He Left Office May 29, 2023

By Suleiman &Lateef Adegbite

The last may not have been heard about the national social Investment Programme, NSP, created by former President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2016 and inherited by the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disater Management and Social Development, now baptized ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty lleviation by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in August, 2023.

This isbecause have continued to be made over approval for the disbursement of the NSIP funds even as Tinubu had said that Buhari, his predecessor in office never called him on phone since he vacated office on May 29, 2023, and , relocated to his hometown in Daura, Katsiina state , during the Launching of the Book: Working With Buhari: Reflections of   A Special Adviser, Media and Publicity , 20215-2018. The launching of the Book which wasauthored by Femi Adesina, now aDirector in Sun Newspapers Limited, may have provided ammunition for the former Lagos state governor to speak out.

He had told those that care to listen during the launching of the Adesina thought provoking Book in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on Tuesday, January 16, 2024,   that Buhari never interfered in the composition of the 48-man cabinet of is Administration last year. 

Many believe that the former President may not have found it any need to call him because he had made it to him from the onset that he won’t intrude in whatever his he is doing in his government. He was said to have repeatedly assusured the former Lagos state governor that he will not breath down on his throat as he will be far away in Daura, his home town. He had message for Tinubu:  but if you me contact me

Edu: Suspended minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation

Many believe that the Betta Edu, the suspended minister of ministry of Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation sandal over the alleged transfer of N585.18 million to one Bridget Oniyeju Mojisola, account which had exposed the rot in NSP, which Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, the immediate past minister of the ministry, had said gets allocation of on the North American country of the United States, US, one billion annual for implementation of its social programmes across the country.

Until she vacated office on May 29, 2023, after the expiration of the Buhari’s eight year-old Administration, there had been news making the rounds that N37 billion was misappropriated in the ministry and NSIP , during his regime but the Edu scam may have exposed the rot  as she became a guest of Ola Olukoyede , led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

 While Edu, who is currently being investigated by EFCC, over the management of the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and the supervision of the NSP implemented programmes believed to have gulped over $8 billion  over the last seven years,  coupled with the transfer of about  N585. 2million into a private account and the alleged Social Investment Verification Register award of a N438 million contract to New Planet Project, a company linked to Olubumi Tunji-Ojo, minister of Interior, she may have seen that the game is up.

Gbajabiamila: Chief Of Staff to President Tinubu

This may have informed why the aggrieved suspended minister   had opened that she is not alone in giving approval for the disbursement of the NSP funds for approved contracts. She  had revealed  that Femi Gbajibiamila, a former Speaker of House of Representatives in the 9th National Assembly and now Chief of Staff, to President Tinubu, gave approval  to her  to utilize  the sum of N3 billion  from the COVID 19 Palliative Fund  for the controversial  Verification  of the National Social Register, NSR. Informed sources  from the Presidency  says  the President may  not have been aware of the letter that was said to have been signed by Gbajabiamila, his Chief of Staff giving approval to the suspended minister  to utilize the sum of N3 billion  from COVID 19 Palliative Funds, thus raising suspicions.

There are indications that the sum of  N3.077 billion  was allegedly  approved  by the President’s Chief of  Staff,  for 12 companies  that was said to have been engaged  by the embattled suspended minister  to conduct the NSR contract. Perhaps, it was the said amount that the N438 million was paid to New Planet Project, a company liked to Tunji-Ojo, and one of the contractors.

There ar indications that series of transactions have been carried out in the NSIP through the same illegal channel as the suspended minister was said to have allegedly at various time over the last seven months withdawn withdrawn N14.8 billion from the NSP’s accounts.

Given the new twist in the Edu saga, may have encouraged the Nigerian who do want to hear that any of his political appointees is involved in any financial scandal that will dent the image of the Administration that he was said to given the extant directive to EFCC, to carry out total investigation into the financial misappropriation over the last seven months under the now suspended Edu.

Officials of EFCC, were said to have sighted the alleged memo signed by Gbajabiamila, approving the sum of over N3 billion for the suspended minister to be utilized for the NSR contract but are said to be much more concerned in getting to the root of her alleged involvement in the N585 million fraud and not double investigate the same issue still under investigation.

Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity may have spoken the mind of the Nigerian President when he urged Nigerians to be patient   with the ongoing investigation that is being carried out by the EFCC, noting that ‘’there is no saint, no sinner yet until the anti-graft agency completes its assignment and confirms the minister and other top government officials linked to the scam guilty.  

It was not surprising why he has urged Nigerians, who are calling for the heads of those involved in the NSIP fraud to refrain from doing so as the people involved and the issues are being probed. Already, Nigerians are watch to see how the President will handle the Gbajabiamila matter as it has become obvious going by the revelation of the suspended , via approval letter , that the Chief of Staff to the President had given her to utilize the sum of  N3 billion inn NSR verification contracts , which gave her room to do so.        

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