HomeNewsSuspended Minister's Replacement Takes Charge Amid Scandal

Suspended Minister’s Replacement Takes Charge Amid Scandal

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The permanent secretary of Nigeria’s humanitarian affairs ministry, Olumuyiwa Enitan, has assumed leadership of the department following the suspension of Betta Edu, the former minister.

President Bola Tinubu ordered Edu’s suspension on Monday after public outrage over the approval of N585m ($1.4m) into a private account. The government intended the payment for the social investment programs, which is a flagship initiative to alleviate poverty and empower vulnerable groups.

Edu, who has denied any wrongdoing, was also accused of mismanaging funds meant for humanitarian interventions in the country’s conflict-ridden northeast region, where millions of people have been displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.

The president has set up a panel, headed by the finance minister, to conduct a comprehensive audit of the financial architecture and framework of the social investment programmes. He also directed Edu to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities.

Enitan, who received the letter of authorization from the office of the secretary to the government on Monday night, said he would ensure transparency and accountability in the ministry. He also pledged to continue the implementation of social investment programs, which include cash transfers, school feeding, and micro-credit schemes.

 

Challenges and Opportunities

Since its creation in 2019, the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry has been facing several challenges in delivering its mandate. Apart from the allegations of corruption, the ministry has also been criticized for poor coordination, lack of data, and duplication of efforts with other agencies and partners.

Some analysts have also questioned the rationale behind the creation of the ministry, arguing that it overlaps with the functions of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI).

However, others have welcomed the establishment of the ministry, saying that it reflects the government’s commitment to address the humanitarian crisis and poverty in the country. They have also urged the government to strengthen the capacity and oversight of the ministry, as well as ensure adequate funding and collaboration with stakeholders.

Despite the challenges and controversies, the humanitarian affairs ministry has also recorded some achievements and impacts. According to the ministry’s website, the social investment programs have reached over 12 million beneficiaries across the 36 states and the federal capital territory.

The ministry has also provided relief materials, cash grants, and livelihood support to millions of people affected by conflicts, disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry has also facilitated the return and resettlement of some internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their communities.

As the ministry undergoes a period of transition and scrutiny, many Nigerians hope that the probe will lead to improved governance and service delivery and that the social investment programs will continue to make a difference in the lives of the poor and vulnerable.

 

Source: Punch 

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