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    Monday, January 8, 2024

    Betta Edu Faces Questions Over Flight Funds to Kogi – a State with No Airport

    The minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Betta Edu approved funds for flight tickets and airport taxis for the ministry’s staff to Kogi — a state with no airport.

    The approval is contained in a leaked internal memo dated November 6, 2023.

    The memo issued by the national programme manager, requesting the total sum of N72,374,500, was titled: ‘The Disbursement Under the 2023 Grant for Vulnerable Groups Programmes in Kogi State, 2023’, and was approved by the minister.

    In the memo, the sum is appropriated for the minister’s “advanced team” to travel by air for an “event” in Kogi.

    Each of the minister’s “advanced team” members, including aides, received the sum of N200,000 for flight tickets, N20,000 for airport taxi, and local running expenses and DTA depending on grade level — all amounting to N72,374,500.

    The sum of N300,000 was earmarked for the minister’s air ticket.

    However, Kogi has no airport to its name.

    In November 2020, Yahaya Bello, Kogi governor, met with then-President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Rock, seeking the establishment of an airport in the state.

    Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Bello said he asked Buhari to ensure that Kogi got funds for the airport.

    “I paid a visit to the president to brief him about the confluence state, the development and challenges we are facing and also to convey a message form the people of Kogi state that the social bond between the government and the governed is still very strong,” he said.


    The development is the latest in a series of controversies that have dogged the minister.

    Edu has been under fire after a memo surfaced wherein she asked Oluwatoyin Madein, accountant-general of the federation, to transfer the sum of N585 million to a private account.

    The instruction for the payment is contained in a leaked letter dated December 20, 2023.

    In the letter signed by the minister and titled: “Mandate for Payment of Grant for Vulnerable Groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos and Ogun States Respectively”, Edu instructed the accountant-general to transfer the aforementioned sum to the UBA account of one Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola.

    Some social media users have called for the probe of the minister and her ministry.

    On Saturday, the Network for the Actualisation of Social Growth and Viable Development (NEFGAD), asked President Bola Tinubu to commence disciplinary proceedings against Edu, saying the minister’s action is a “serious procurement and fiscal malfeasance that attracts serious penalties”.

    Amid the public outrage, Edu denied any wrongdoing.


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