Youths in 19 Northern States under the banner of Arewa Youths have described as unfortunate, the ongoing smear campaign against Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, revealing that those stooped from looting palliatives were behind the act.
The Arewa Youths in a statement by its leader Kabiru Yusuf expressed dismay over what they called desperate and evil intentioned attempts to link the Minister to the corruption at the National Social Investment Agency (NSIPA) which resulted in the suspension of the agency’s head, Halima Shehu.
They also condemned the allegations of N585m fraud against Dr Edu after a leaked memo purportedly indicated that she directed the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, to transfer N585 million to a private account owned by one Oniyelu Bridget in the Ministry.
The Northern Youths lamented the campaign of calumny which began in place of appreciation to the Minister who was in Plateau State, one of the states in the north to provide succour and carry out on the spot assessment of the affected communities of the Christmas and subsequent attacks in the North-Central State.
“Those who are fighting back because they have been stopped from looting palliatives don’t even have conscience. This is as they started this campaign on Wednesday and intensified from Friday. Wednesday was when Dr Betta Edu went to Plateau State to ensure food and non-food relief materials are distributed to communities and survivors of the Christmas eve attacks by marauding gunmen in Plateau State.
“While there, Dr Edu visited churches and some IDPs’ camps where she observed a minute silence for the dead and addressed worshippers and victims who were taking refuge for protection after the attacks. And after that hectic humanitarian assignment, the best thank you is to launch smear campaign against her.
“Those sponsoring the media trial because food has been taken out of their mouths could not even place statement in the media to condemn the attacks or commiserate with the victims, talk less of visiting those the affected place to provide succour.
“We in north worst hit by humanitarian crisis can not sit and watch those who had in the past looted funds meant to provide relief materials or palliatives to our people in dire need of support. Dr Betta Edu who has sterling leadership qualities and is always at the forefront of put smiles on the faces of the distressed when she was Commissioner of Health in her home state of Cross River and National Woman Leader of the All Progressive Congress, is doing well as a Minister.
“This campaign shouldn’t be coming especially now that just undertaken a stressful assignment to a northern state to provide relief and succour to victims of unfortunate attacks except those behind it are enemies of the north and we will not accept it.”