While the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu is still grappling with the illegal diversion of ₦585million to private account, a fresh scandal of approval for flight has tickets and airport taxi to non existing Kogi airport has emerged in the ministry.
It’s public knowledge that Kogi State has no airport, the nearest airport to it is in Akure, the Ondo State capital, which is about five hours by road. Abuja to Lokoja is about three hours by road so people often travel from Abuja to Kogi by road.
Other airports around Kogi are in Owerri, Imo State; Enugu, Enugu State and Asaba, Delta State, but they are all farther than Akure from Lokoja.
A document published by SaharaReporters showed that in November 2023, Edu approved funds for flight tickets and airport taxis for the minister’s teams from Abuja to Kogi State, even though the latter has no airport.
The documents furthered revealed how the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) moved N226,188,500 million to Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo states through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation ahead of the November 11, 2023 governorship elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) held governorship elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states on November 11, 2023.
A breakdown of the disbursement of the funds shows that N72,374,500 was moved to Kogi State on November 6, 2023, through the Director of Finance Account, National Social Investment Agency, just five days before the governorship election.
The minister’s advanced team received N2,515,000 for DTA for five nights, local running @30% of DTA, for flight tickets and airport taxis.
Each of the minister’s advanced team members comprising Hon Thalis Olonite Apalowo (NPM, GVG), Mrs Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola (Project Accountant), Ibrahim Adamu (Department of State Services), Adejumo Olusegun Agbailu (TTL, GVG), Mr Iyanda Abiodun (Protocol Officer), Chime Jessica Ginika (ONPM) and Salami Surajudeen Ojo (Driver) received N200,000 for flight ticket and N20,000 for airport taxi, amounting to N1.54 million.
Similarly, the minister’s (main) team received N2,159,500 for DTA for five nights, local running @30% of DTA, for flight tickets and airport taxis. Each of them apart from the minister also received N200,000 for flight ticket and N20,000 for airport taxi.
Edu received N300,000 for flight ticket while nothing was recorded under her name for airport taxi.
The members of the ministers (main) team are Caroline Nelson (SA Strategy), Abdulrasheed Olariwaju (SA Media), Mamman Mohammed Sanusi (SA Protocol), Agbor Smart Edim, Felix A. David (Chief Details) and Ibrahim Adamu (Department of State Services).