Pressure is mounting on President Bola Tinubu to suspend the minister of interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, over the payment of N438 million as a consultancy fee to a company linked to him by suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu.
The company, New Planet Project Limited, was one of the numerous consultants awarded contracts from N3 billion given out by the suspended minister for the National Social Register contract.
The social register was created for cash transfers and other social investment programmes.
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New Planet Project Limited was initially paid N279 million for verification of the list and another N159 million for the same purpose.
Tinubu summoned the Ondo-born minister to the Presidential Villa after the deal became public knowledge, but no disciplinary action has been taken against him so far.
This has prompted outrage in some sections of the country, with some individuals and groups calling on the president to give the minister the same treatment meted out to Edu.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has already called on President Tinubu to shift his probe searchlight on Tunji-Ojo.
NANS made the call in a statement by its president, Pedro Obi and seen by Dockaysworld.
“The latest revelation, which is all over the media, that a company owned by the Minster of Interior got #438m from the Humanitarian Ministry under the suspended minister, leaves so much to ask.
“We call on the president to order an extensive investigation into how every penny was spent under the supervision of the suspended Edu. And, it must not stop at that; the president must ensure that everyone found wanting is prosecuted in accordance with the laws of the land,” the student body said.
On his part, a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Dr Garus Gololo, has expressed his displeasure over the delayed suspension of the Minister of Interior and others allegedly involved in the scandal.
“Once they have suspended the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, Tunji Ojo, the Minister of Interior, should also have been suspended because they indicted him of N438.1 million naira for consultancy fees to numerous companies allegedly linked to him,” the former army general stated.
“How can you be a consultant with your own companies while holding public office. He has to be suspended alongside those involved to make it complete,” he added.
Some Nigerians on social media have also been calling for the suspension of the interior minister.
Sodiq Tade, a Peoples Democratic Party member, wrote:” I’m a ‘fan’ of Olubunmi Tunji Ojo mainly because he is the only ‘working’ minister out of the 49/48 ministers.
” However, if he is a shareholder in a company mentioned in corruption dealings, then he must be made to step aside just like Betta Edu. For us to progress as a country, we must hold everyone accountable. Equally.”
Omotayo Williams wrote:” It is also evident he (Olubunmi-Ojo) has used his position to influence his company getting the contract.”
Meanwhile, the minister has clarified that he and his wife ceased to be the company’s directors in February 2019.