President Bola Tinubu sacked Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, on Monday, January 8, 2024, in response to public outrage over an alleged N585 million scam.
Additionally, Tinubu ordered an investigation into the purported N585 million scam at the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), an anti-graft body.
This comes days after eminent organizations and individuals, such as the PDP, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, the Yoruba Youth Assembly, Femi Falana, and others, called for an investigation into the memo that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation leaked, which purported to have instructed the Accountant General of the Federation, Dr. Oluwatoyin Madein, to transfer N585 million into the personal bank account of Bridget Oniyelu, a project accountant in her ministry.
Some Nigerians have praised President Bola Tinubu for his actions after he decided to suspend the beleaguered Minister while an anti-graft agency looked into claims made against her. Others contended that Betta Edu was supposed to be fired because of proofs that are already in the public domain.
A few Nigerians also applauded Tinubu for being the first president to suspend a cabinet minister due to accusations, but research conducted by WITHIN NIGERIA showed that since the start of civil government in 1999, more than ten ministers have been suspended and then removed from office.
Here is a list of suspended and sacked Ministers since 1999
Chief Sunday Afolabi
The Iree-born politician served in the cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo as Minister of Internal Affairs. The former deputy governor of Oyo State when Bola Ige was governor became a member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1998. He was appointed Minister for supporting the 1999 presidential bid of Olusegun Obasanjo.
Months after he was appointed, Afolabi was accused of involvement in receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from an agent of French company SAGEM S.A to facilitate the US $214 million contract given the firm in 2001 to execute a national identity card project.
The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) arrested Afolabi on 5th December, 2003 during the commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. President Olusegun Obasanjo suspended and later fired Afolabi as Internal Affairs Minister.
Alhaji Hussaini Zannuwa Akwanga
He served in the cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo as Minister of Labour and Productivity during 2003. Obasanjo reportedly fired Alhaji Akwanga for his alleged involvement in the SAGEM S.A bribery scandal.
Findings revealed that Alhaji Akwanga was the permanent secretary of the internal affairs when Chief Afolabi was Minister. It simply means Akwanga served under Chief Afolabi when the bribery was perpetuated before he later became Minister.
Chief Fabian Osuji
The Imo-born politician served in the cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo as Minister of Education from July 2003 to March 2005.
He was dismissed by President Olusegun Obasanjo in March 2005 following his indictment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly offering N55 million ($400,000) in bribes to the National Assembly to pass an inflated budget. Obasanjo announced the dismissal in a national radio broadcast that implied his guilt.
The case was handed to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for persecution. In April 2005, Osuji was questioned by the ICPC, as were former Senate leader Adolphus Wabara and Senators Abdulazeez Ibrahim, Emmanuel Okpede, Badamasi Maccido and Chris Adighije.
Prof. Adenike Grange
She is paediatrician, professor, consultant, author and served in the cabinet of President Musa Yaradua as Minister of Health from July 2007 to March 2008.
President Yaradua reportedly fired and ordered her arrest over the handling of N300 million of unspent funds in the 2007 budget and award.
She was examined by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). She claimed that she had been misadvised by her directors. The President had reportedly directed that all unspent money in the budget be returned but it was allegedly shared by officials of the Health Ministry as bonuses. However, some reports claimed that she resigned.
He served in the cabinet of President Umaru Musa Yaradua as the Minister of State for Health. He was also relieved of his duty as a state Minister as a result of N300 million of unspent funds in the 2007 budget and award.
She served in the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan as the Minister of Aviation. She was sworn-in on July 2, 2011 and deployed to the Ministry of Aviation on July 4, 2011.
She was involved in a lot of controversies which prompted President Goodluck Jonathan to fire her from office. She was involved in the purchase of two bullet-proofs cars by an agency under her supervision, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, for N255 million in violation of Nigeria’s public procurement and appropriation laws.
She was also involved in certificate scandal. The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on February 9, 2014 indicted Stella Oduah, and the Nigerian Subsidiary of Chinese Construction Giant, CCECC, in allege fraudulent cash transaction of about N5billion over five months in 2014.
He served in the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. He was sworn-in as Minister on 6th April, 2010 when acting president Goodluck Jonathan announced his new cabinet.
Findings revealed that President Jonathan fired Orubebe after he was accused of abusing his office by accepting a gratification of a palatial mansion on the property allocated to him in Abuja, FCT contrary to Section 12 of the Act.
Other reports signaled that he was fired from office inorder to be able to contest the guber election of his homestate.
He served in the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan as the Minister of State for Finance.
Ngama was implicated in the convoluted Malabu affair. Adoke, the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, is accused of hastily authorizing the transfer of N155 billion into accounts held by Dan Etete, a former Petroleum Minister who claimed ownership of Malabu, despite petitions, a court case, and anti-corruption investigations.
The Yobe State-born former minister of state for finance collaborated with Mr. Adoke to transfer money paid by Shell and Agip for the contested oil bloc 245 into Malabu’s account under Mr. Etete’s supervision.
He was the Minister of Police Affairs in President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet. In 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan discharged him of his duties along with three other ministers. This writer was unable to determine the primary reason for his dismissal from the ministry, nevertheless.
He served in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari as the Minister of Agriculture. He was sacked by President Buhari on September 1, 2021. As at the time of reportage, the cause of removal from office is not yet known.
He was the Minister of Power in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet. On September 1, 2021, President Buhari fired him.
According to reports, Saleh Mamman was sacked because, throughout his years in office, the country’s electricity condition did not significantly improve, and the power industry saw little to no progress.