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Betta Edu’s debut in corruption-infested society

Edu, no doubt, is the product of the system that brought her to limelight

By Valentine Amanze


Dr Betta Edu | Image: Premium Times

Nigeria’s suspended Humanitarian and Poverty Alliteration Minister, Dr Betta Edu, is not different from many other public officeholders in Nigeria. They drink and eat corruption.

The slite difference is she is female and still a novice in the act.

On a second thought, Edu perhaps, like a few other female political officeholders, was putting into practice the outcome of the Beijing conference of 1995.

The conference built on political agreements reached at the three previous global conferences on women, and consolidated five decades of legal advances aimed at securing the equality of women with men in law and in practice.

Indeed, Betta Edu, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, Patricia Ette, and Diesani Alison-Madueke, with the allegation of corruption on their necks, have proved that women are at par with men in law and in practice as stipulated in the Beijing Conference.

Before the allegation of financial crime, one felt that it was only the male public officeholders that are corrupt. The women have proved me wrong; though they are not as smart as their male collegues.

 In October 2007, Nigeria media was awash with Ettegate, a financial scam involving Nigeria’s first female Speaker of House of Representatives, Mrs. Paticia Olubunmi Ette, which led to her impeachment.

Ette was found guilty of awarding a N628 million contract for the renovation of house without due process.

Also read: Judiciary: Nigeria’s rubbished institution

While the Nigerian government is chasing the former Petroleum Minister, Diesani Alison Madueke, over financial recklessness, Edu approved the disbursement of N585,198,500 meant for vulnerable groups to a personal account.

The money, she allegedly said, was meant for Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola, said to be project accountant for the Renewed Hope Grant for vulnerable groups.

This is besides the alleged shoddy disbursement of the N3 billion humanitarian intervention fund into a company owned by the minister of Interior.

Edu, the embattled and suspended Humanitarian minister, had been a guest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) since then, while Sadiya Umar-Farouq had been quizzed by the anti-graft agency over alleged N37 billion fraud during her time as the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs.

One thing that beats ones imagination is the level of impunity and desperation among the women officeholders.

Their desperation to loot public fund is a reflection of the culture of Kleptomania in Nigeria’s politics, which is yet to change.

This also eloquently supports the fact that Nigerian politicians are only out to feather their nests and not to serve the people.

Come to think the impact all the stolen money would have made in the soceity if disbursed to the poor citizens.

Edu, no doubt, is the product of the system that brought her to limelight.

Betta Edu and her likes in the public offices are very selfish. Nigerian corrupt public officeholders are unique. They steal what the need and what they don’t unlike Robin Hood of England.

Robin Hood is an archetypal figure in English folklore, whose story originates from medieval times but who remains significant in popular culture, where he is known for robbing the rich to give to the poor and fighting against injustice and tyranny.

The Nigerian Robin Hood [public officeholders] robbed the poor and promoted injustice.

The trend must change if Nigeria must move forward.

Suspending Edu should not be the end of the issue; rather, a holistic approach must be adopted by the relevant government agencies to examine why the Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Ministry had become a conduit pipe for siphoning public funds.

Other ministries and parastatals must not be spared by the anti-graft agency. They must be investigated.

The federal government must ensure that all those culpable in the scandal involving the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, are jailed as deterant to other corrupt public officeholders and the credibility of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration.

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