Niger Delta Activists Alliance, NGAA, has called for action against financial mismanagement in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
NGAA in a press release issued by its President General, Mark Edwin, said that it has been closely monitoring the developments in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation following the appointment of Mrs. Halima Shehu as the National Coordinator responsible for overseeing the Agencies and Parastatals of the National Social Investment Programme Agency, NSIPA.
The group stated that with great concern, has observed a consistent disregard for the NSIPA’s financial structure by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Beta Edu.
NGAA in the statement said it was deeply troubled by the deliberate bypassing of the NSIPA’s financial regulations, resulting in the unauthorized disbursement of funds amounting to billions of Naira from the Agency’s Remita Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Saying that, “Additionally, new signatories and role players have been illegally added to the Agency’s account without the proper procedures being followed, leaving the Agency vulnerable to fraud and unauthorized transfer of funds.
“More alarmingly, recent payments from the Agency’s account have been made to personal accounts instead of the licensed Payment Service Providers, PSP, accounts, directly violating established financial rules and regulations.
“The alarming lack of accountability is further perpetuated by the neglect of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to invite the Minister for questioning, raising serious concerns about the agency’s integrity and commitment to justice.”
The group’s statement read, “As representatives of various interest groups from the Niger Delta region, NGAA has exercised immense restraint and maturity in observing these events, even in the face of unreasonable and unacceptable actions that have affected Nigerians as a whole.
“However, there comes a point when silence becomes complicity, and inaction is no longer an option. NGAA unequivocally demands that President Tinubu takes immediate action to address this blatant breach of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s regulatory policy, which aims to prevent arbitrary interference by ministries in the financial management of government-owned corporations and agencies under their purview.
“The President must demonstrate a strong commitment to ensuring strict compliance with the CBN regulations, allowing these entities to manage their financial affairs autonomously without undue government interference.
“Furthermore, NGAA demands the immediate arrest and prosecution of Betta Edu and all individuals involved in this misappropriation of NSIPA funds, which were meant to benefit the Nigerian people and the country as a whole. It is crucial that the Agency is repositioned and empowered to deliver programs that effectively alleviate poverty for the poor and vulnerable.
“Finally, NGAA calls on the EFCC to conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation into these allegations, ensuring that all parties involved are held accountable for their actions. By doing so, the EFCC can restore the public’s trust and ensure that justice is served.
“As an organization comprised of representatives from various interest groups in the Niger Delta region, NGAA remains dedicated to promoting transparency, accountability, and justice in Nigeria. The time for action is now.”