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Young, flamboyant minister who’s enmeshed in fraud scandal

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Betta Edu is a Nigerian politician and the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. She has been in the news recently for the wrong reasons. Investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are ongoing as she has been linked to an alleged N585 million fraud.

It is not often that we see young Nigerians holding top political positions in the country. Many have criticised her for her alleged involvement in the fraud while others have come to her defence.

As the “Betta-gate” continues to unravel, Skabash! presents details about the young minister.

Betta Edu biography

Betta Edu smile

Betta Chimaobim Edu was born on October 27, 1986. She hails from Abi Local government area in Cross River State. Edu attended  Federal Government Girls College, Calabar, for her secondary education and graduated in 2001. She enrolled at the University of Calabar and graduated with a degree in Medicine in 2009.

In addition, Edu holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health for Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a master’s degree in Public Health in Developing Countries from the same school. She is also a Doctor of Public Health from Texila American University.

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Betta Edu career

Betta Edu at an event

In 2015, Edu became the youngest Special Adviser on Community and Primary Healthcare to the then Cross River State Governor, Benedict Ayade. She also led the state’s COVID-19 Task Force in 2020. In August of the same year, she was appointed National Chairman of the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum.

Edu is also a Fellow of the Royal School of Public Health and the African Institute of Public Health Professionals. In March 2022, she became the youngest National Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC). She helped to mobilise women to campaign for Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidential campaign during the 2023 Nigerian general elections. As a result of her hard work, the state Women Leaders of the All APC across all 36 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) passed a vote of confidence on Edu in July 2023. The vote was made during their visit to President Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

In the same month, President Tinubu nominated Edu for minister alongside other 28 nominees who were unveiled for screening by the Nigerian Senate. In August 2023, Edu was sworn in as Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, making her the first female minister from Cross River State and, at the time, the youngest minister at the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria in the Fourth Nigerian Republic.

In the course of her career, Edu has received numerous accolades, including the Nigeria Quintessential Woman Award (2020) and the Award of Excellence in Gender Inclusion (2023) from the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs. These awards were given to recognise her contributions to empowering women, children, and vulnerable groups in Nigeria.

Betta Edu’s net worth

According to sources, Edu’s net worth is estimated to be between N50 million to N70 million.

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Betta Edu controversy

Betta Edu with Tinubu

In 2020, Edu was accused of posting fake photos of ventilators. A vote of no confidence was subsequently passed on her for misconduct during the COVID-19 pandemic by the Cross River state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association. However, Edu claimed that the vote was politically motivated. In 2022, she was also accused of procedural misconduct during her campaign to become National Women Leader of the APC.

On 6, January 2024, Edu appeared in the news again for alleged fraud. A memo she issued, instructing the Accountant-General of the Federation, Dr Oluwatoyin Madein, to pay N585 million into the private bank account of a project accountant in her ministry, Bridget Mojisola Oniyelu, was leaked. On January 8, President Tinubu suspended the young minister with immediate effect. According to a statement signed by Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, the Presidency said the suspension was in line
with the president’s commitment to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency and accountability in the management of the commonwealth of Nigerians.

The statement also added that the President had directed the EFCC to conduct thorough investigations into the financial transactions involving the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation under Edu and other affiliated agencies.

“The suspended Minister is hereby directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and she is further directed by the President to fully cooperate with the investigating authorities as they conduct their investigation,” the statement added, as reported by Daily Post.

“Furthermore, the President has tasked a panel that is headed by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance to, among other functions, conduct a comprehensive diagnostic on the financial architecture and framework of the social investment programmes with a view to conclusively reforming the relevant institutions and programmes in a determined bid to eliminate all institutional frailties for the exclusive benefit of disadvantaged households and win back lost public confidence in the initiative.

“These directives of the President take immediate effect.”

Meanwhile, Edu’s pass to the Presidential Villa was withdrawn. In addition, the embattled minister was invited for questioning by the EFCC. Subsequently, the agency seized her international passport to prevent her from travelling outside the country during the ongoing investigations.

Others linked to the scandal include Minister of Interior, Bunmi Tunji-Ojo; and bank chief executives like Ebenezer Onyeagwu (Zenith Bank), Walter Akpani (Providus Bank) and Haruna Musa (Jaiz Bank). On January 9, the EFCC reportedly invited the bank chiefs for questioning.

Betta Edu family

Edu was reportedly raised in a Christian family. Her father, Mr, Emmanuel Ekeh, was a businessman and worked with an engineering firm while her mother was a housewife. Edu has a twin brother named Chika Ekeh. She also has three sisters, one of whom is named Tessy Iwuafor.

Edu herself is married with three children.

Betta Edu age

Edu is currently 37 years old and will be 38 years old in October 2024.

Betta Edu Instagram

Like most young people, Edu has an  Instagram account with about 38,200 followers. However, her account is private as of the time of writing this article.

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