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Arewa Integrity Group Expresses Concern Over Atempt To Implicate Humanitarian Affairs Minister In NISPA Aledge Fraud

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Arewa Integrity Group has called on the people involved in NSIPA fraud to come forward and be accountable for their actions so that they can receive mercy from almighty for trying to rob the poor and the weak of their dues.

The group at a press briefing in Kano on Saturday by its convener Alhaji Ibrahim Sambo they are worried by multiple fake reports in the media seeking to drag minister for Humanitarian Affairs and poverty alleviation Dr Betta Edu into the mess of the alledge diversion of N44.8billion Naira from the NISPA account.

Alhaji Ibrahim Sambo wonders why when the federal government investigation is ongoing there has been a well-orchestrated efforts to muddy the water and create chaos at the entre ministry.

”As you are all aware, there has been multiple reports on some unsavoryactions in one of the agencies under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. This has led to the just and proper removal of Ms Halima Shehu,the former NationalCoordinator of the National Social Investment Programme Agency’s, NSIPA”.

”We are very happy that government has also invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate the disappearance of billions of naira from this agency established to reduce the sufferingof the masses.

”We are however alarmed that rather than allow the Federal Government investigation to go on unhindered, there has been a well-orchestrated effort to muddy the water and create chaos at the entire ministry”.

”This plot is exemplified in a multitude of fakereports in the media seeking to drag the Honourable Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu into the mess of the alleged diversion of N44.8 billion from the NSIPA account”.

”As an Integrity group that aligns itself with the Federal Government’s anti corruption stance, we support the EFCC’s investigation and we believe that anyone involved will be identified and punished according to the law’, Be that as it may, we are constrained to add that we willnot stand idle as corruption fights back and seeks to destroy the reputation of the innocent.

The integrity group also said, from it’s monitoring of the activities of various officials of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we can confidently state that Dr Betta Edu is one of the high achievers. Gentlemen of the press,this is why we are alarmed at the ongoing campaign by some fifth columnists to drag the hard-earned reputation and integrity of the Honourable Minister into the ongoing investigations of NSIPA scandal by the EFCC.

”We are motivated by the need to speak up and defend the integrity of this hard- working minister, to demonstrate our appreciation for all her efforts and to assure other high achievers in government that we the people will always support them when evil doers attack them”.

”Our investigations reveal that the campaign to drag Dr Edu in the multi-billion-naira NSIPA fraud scandal is based on deliberate falsehood and disinformationaimed at diverting the attention of the EFCC”

Sambo aso sad, it is a common knowledge that the money spent for the nationalverification of the National Social Register, NSR, quoted by some critics as evidence of Dr Edu’s collusion in the grand theft at the NSIPA, was approved by President Tinubu and the Federal Executive Council in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda to expand the NSR as well as sanitize its operations.

He further explained that, all the Programms embarked by the Ministry under the current Minister, Dr. Betta Edu, thus far, including Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, Grants for Vulnerable Groupsand others all secured the approval of the President.

“”To be clear, we need to emphasize that it is standard practice and procedure in the Public Service for MDAs to appoint Project Managers or Project Accountants for specific projects. To avoid bureaucracy and bottlenecks, funds are sent directly to the account of a designated officer who disburses as approved and retires same with receipts and or evidence of utilization when such projects or programmes are completed.

”We are confident that you, media practitioners, can help to further establish and enlighten the generality of Nigerians on this issue”

You can read the full statement below:

THERE SHOULD BE NO COVER UP ON THE SCANDAL AT NATIONAL SOCIAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMME AGENCY, NSIPA
BEING THE TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY AREWA INTEGRITY GROUP HELD IN KANO ON SATURDAY, JANUARY 6, 2024.

Gentlemen of the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good morning.
I welcome you to this press conference and I trust that you will do justice to the matter of national importance that we want to address today.

As you are all aware, there has been multiple reports on some unsavoryactions in one of the agencies under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. This has led to the just and proper removal of Ms Halima Shehu,the former NationalCoordinator of the National Social Investment Programme Agency’s, NSIPA.

Equally as important, we are very happy that government has also invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate the disappearance of billions of naira from this agency established to reduce the sufferingof the masses.

We are however alarmed that rather than allow the Federal Government investigation to go on unhindered, there has been a well-orchestrated effort to muddy the water and create chaos at the entire ministry.

This plot is exemplified in a multitude of fakereports in the media seeking to drag the Honourable Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu into the mess of the alleged diversion of N44.8 billion from the NSIPAaccount.

As an Integrity group that aligns itself with the Federal Government’s anti corruption stance, we support the EFCC’s investigation and we believe that anyone involved will be identified and punished according to the law.
Be that as it may, we are constrained to add that we willnot stand idle as corruption fights back and seeks to destroy the reputation of the innocent.

From our monitoring of the activities of various officials of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we can confidently state that Dr Betta Edu is one of the high achievers. Gentlemen of the press,this is why we are alarmed at the ongoing campaign by some fifth columnists to drag the hard-earned reputation and integrity of the Honourable Minister into the ongoing investigations of NSIPA scandal by the EFCC.

We are motivated by the need to speak up and defend the integrity of this hard- working minister, to demonstrate our appreciation for all her efforts and to assure other high achievers in government that we the people will always support them when evil doers attack them.

Our investigationsreveal that the campaign to drag Dr Edu in the multi-billion-naira NSIPA fraud scandal is based on deliberate falsehood and disinformationaimed at diverting the attention of the EFCC.

It is common knowledge that the money spent for the nationalverification of the National Social Register, NSR, quoted by some critics as evidence of Dr Edu’s collusion in the grand theft at the NSIPA, was approved byPresident Tinubu and theFederal Executive Council in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda to expand the NSR as well as sanitize its operations.

It is also public knowledge that all the Programmed embarked by the Ministry under the current Minister, Dr. Betta Edu, thus far, including Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, Grants for Vulnerable Groupsand others all secured the approval of the President.

To be clear, we need to emphasize that it is standard practice and procedure in the Public Service for MDAs to appoint Project Managers or Project Accountants for specific projects. To avoid bureaucracy and bottlenecks, funds are sent directly to the account of a designated officer who disburses as approved and retires same with receipts and or evidence of utilization when such projects or programmes are completed.

We are confident that you, media practitioners, can help to further establish and enlighten the generality of Nigerians on this issue.

May we also use this avenue to warn all fifth columnists and their sponsors that we will not stand idle as they seek to derail government’s efforttoprovidesuccor to vulnerable Nigerians and pull 50 million poor people out of poverty within 42 months in line with President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

We hope the EFCC investigation will soon provide answers to the vital questionsunder whose authority the formerNational Coordinator of the NSIPA withdrew N44.4 billion from the government account and divert same intovarious private accounts.

We would also like to see theapprovals she got,if any, before embarking on this ruinous action.

We refuse to allow fake news and propaganda to cloud our judgement, even as we call on various public accountability groups to remain vigilant and seek the truth always.

We commend the EFCC for its efforts so fartowards recovering the funds that were fraudulently diverted from NSIPA. This is a positive step towards ensuring that justice is served and the culprits are held accountable for their actions.

We note that it was Dr Betta Edu, who shares the ideals of President Bola Tinubu’s zero-tolerance policy towards corruption, who brought this fraudulent activity to the attention of the government and the EFCC once the staff in the Accounting Unit sounded the alarm.

It is clear that Dr Edu could have covered this up, or even seek to personally benefit from the crime. But as the virtuous woman and dedicated public servant that she is, she refused to do so. We therefore commend her on behalf of Nigerians and call on her to stay focused and continue with the good work she is doing at the ministry.

It is clear that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation will not operate as it did in the past, where financial mismanagement was the order of the day.

Weurge all persons involved in the NSIPAfraud to come forward and be accountable for their actions so that they couldreceive mercy from the almighty for seeking to rob the poor and the weak of their dues. We boldly say that this vile effort of theirs to implicatethe minister is an infantile blackmail that is doomed to fail!

Onceagain, we commend Dr Edu for leading reforms in the ministry within a short span of time and call on staff of the ministry to work with her to realise the lofty goals of the ministry.

Thank you all.
Alhaji Ibrahim Sambo, Convener.

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