N’Delta youth leader Akinaka urges Tinubu to be lenient with Betta Edu

Port Harcourt—A prominent Niger Delta youth leader, Richard Akinaka, has called on President Bola Tinubu to take a critical look at the rationale behind the project account initiative used by the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu.

The youth leader stated this in a chat with newsmen on Thursday.

He argued that the decision by Edu to authorize payment of about N585 million of the ministry’s funds into the private account of a civil servant might have stemmed from the desire to reduce the bureaucratic and red-tape nature of the government in releasing funds.

Akinaka, therefore, urged Tinubu not to be swayed by public emotions and social media outcry to becloud his reasoning regarding his decisions on the alleged corruption case of the suspended minister.

“While I commend the timely suspension and investigation of the Minister, the President should re-examine the motive of the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Beta Edu, when executing her tasks, rather than focusing solely on its account itself,” he partly said.

He expressed regret in what he described as a potential error made by the suspended Minister based on rules and regulations governing funds for projects, suggesting that the timing of project execution might outweigh any wrongdoing regarding separate accounts.

He further emphasized the importance for President Tinubu to conduct thorough due diligence in investigating the matter.

Akinaka who is a serial entrepreneur added that “If it becomes clear that the funds released for the project were judiciously used and not siphoned or embezzled, then the Minister should be allowed to continue her work at the Ministry.”

“I express my deep gratitude towards the president for appointing such an excellent and young female Minister to work with. I plead on her behalf, not just because of her intelligence and competence but also because of her intentions.”

“What happened to her was a terrible mistake that could have happened to any of us. Considering the nature of her job, this issue is actually very common.”

He urged a fair investigation, emphasizing that the President should consider her intentions when evaluating the case and appealed for leniency akin to how one would treat their own daughter.

“All I am saying is that if the money allegedly embezzled can be accounted for and was used for good intentions, Mr president should please forgive her and if it is proven otherwise she can be sacked. Mr. President should also consider that she is the best at what she does.”

“She must have made a terrible mistake but as we all know in government business, project accountants use specific operations for efficiency purposes and such funds are retired at the end by the appointed accountant.

“What Mr President should really consider is whether the money was used for the reason it was approved for or if it was actually embezzled. If it later turns out that the money was not embezzled Mr President should please forgive her and let her continue in her office,” Akinaka said.

He argued that the focus should be on whether the money was used for its approved purpose rather than emotional reactions.

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