The youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo has declared support for embattled Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, following allegations of N583 million fraud.
In a press statement signed by Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu, the National Youth Leader of the organisation, on Sunday, it commended President Bola Tinubu for his “proactiveness and adherence to the Rule of Law” in suspending Dr. Edu rather than outright dismissal.
The group further called for a fair hearing and an end to the ongoing media trial against the suspended minister.
He said: “Judging by the actions of some persons in the media, it is obvious that there is too much media trial around Dr Edu and those who wanted her out of favour with the Federal Government are sustaining the spins to her disadvantage.
“Media trial is unfair. An allegation has been levelled against her, and President Bola Tinubu, in his wisdom, had suspended her to allow for transparent and unimpeded investigation. The best thing to do in the circumstance is to allow the process of investigation to conclude instead of crucifying her as if she had been found to be guilty.
“There is the need to find what the problem really was about the memo she put up to the Accountant General of the Federation, although, the Accountant General had said that she did not honour the payment.
“If that was correct and we also give her (Accountant General) the benefit of the doubt that she would not have lied, then the subject of investigation of the N583 million could as well pale down to the propriety of routing the memo, and perhaps the request for the sum to be paid into a personal account of a Project Accountant.
The youth wing acknowledged that Dr. Edu may have committed “administrative infelicities” but stopped short of calling for her resignation. The body reiterated her “demonstrable commitment and zeal” as a minister and urged President Tinubu to consider reinstating her if the investigations reveal no evidence of financial misconduct.
“Betta was entrusted with a Ministry as huge as the Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and everyone can attest to the fact that she remains one of the best in the Tinubu-led Government, We must be careful not to throw away the baby with the bathwater,” it added.