Rasheed Zubair, Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, says the disbursed N585,198,500.00 into a personal account is legal and in line with extant civil service rules.
Edu in a viral document personally signed by her and directed to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, instructed the disbursement of the funds to one Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola.
The document also showed that the payment of the N585.198 million grant, meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun and Lagos states, was made into Oniyelu’s account.
This has elicited mixed reactions from Nigerians on social media, with many calling for the minister’s sacking.
But reacting to the leaked document, Zubair in a statement on Friday, said the payment for the vulnerable group followed due process.
According to Zubair, the payment of the grant to the account of Bridget was because the fellow currently serves as the Project Accountant of Grants for Vulnerable Groups.
He said, “It is glaring that the same sponsored disgruntled elements in the past few days have been trying to smear the Honourable Minister, Dr Betta Edu, and stain her integrity because she alerted the Federal Government attention to the ongoing N44.8 Billion Fraud in NSIPA.
“These elements have been trying to link her to a phantom fraud and are behind this latest misadventure. However, this latest vile effort of theirs is another infantile blackmail doomed for evisceration.
“For the avoidance, the said N585m was approved, and it is meant to implement grants to vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states.
“We must note that GVG was first launched in Kogi State, where recipients testified. Akwa Ibom and Cross River were launched in December 2023. Kogi already happened in November, and others will be launched in the coming weeks.
“The general public is invited to note that the Renewed Hope Grant for Vulnerable Groups is one of the social intervention schemes of the Federal Government, which the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation is implementing.
“Oniyelu Bridget is the Project Accountant for GVG from the Department of Finance, and it is legal in civil service for a staff, the project accountant, to be paid and use the same funds legally and retire the same with all receipts and evidence after the project or programme is completed.”