The Civil Society Coalition for Transparency in Governance (CISCOTIG) has rubbished attempts to drag the President’s Chief of Staff, Chief Femi Gbajabiamila, into the probe of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. 

In a statement co-signed by its convener Comrade Michael Sunday Emaluji and Adebayo Lion Ogorry, its secretary and spokesman, the group said Gbajabiamila has no case to answer.

“We have seen tenuous analyses that concluded Gbajabiamila’s guilt simply because he was listed as Betta Edu’s reference on the CV used for her confirmatory screening before the Senate,” the statement said.

“Some surmised that the Chief of Staff was part of the transactions because he is reportedly of the same political sub-bloc as some people who have been insinuated to be connected with the issue. These conjectures have been made to gain ground even though those behind them are aware that they do not have the facts to back up these claims.

“But the most outlandish of these claims is the one that comically concluded that the Chief of Staff is complicit in the transactions being investigated because he forwarded the memo containing President Tinubu’s approval to the suspended Minister for the release of N3 billion for the verification of the National Social Register compiled by the former administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

“We find it odd that those alluding to wrongdoing on the part of the Chief of Staff for forwarding Mr President’s approval are conveniently befuddling the truth, which is that it is the responsibility of that office to convey all such approvals to the receiving Ministry, Department or Agency.

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“It is simply the administrative workflow that has been established over the years. To accuse the Chief of Staff in the manner they are going about at the moment is to say that he should not do his job, which also implies that all approvals from Mr President would be stuck in the State House and governance would ground to a halt.

“From the foregoing, we have flagged two main concerns. The first is the tendency to make a mockery of the anti-corruption efforts by needlessly dragging in persons who are not connected with the fraudulent transactions being investigated – this even has implications for the eventual outcome of the resulting trial since charging the wrong persons could jeopardize such trials.

“The second is the unwitting frustration of governance when people demand impractical workflow like insinuating that the Chief of Staff should not have transmitted Mr President’s approval to the suspended Minister.”

The Civil Society Coalition For Transparency In Governance, therefore, urged Nigerians to resist the temptation of reducing the investigation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation into a reality show that would only serve entertainment purposes.

“This is a serious matter as it affects the well-being of the vulnerable and poorest of the poor among us, whose welfare must on no condition be diverted for the selfish use of a few individuals,” the statement added.

“We, as Nigerians, must also not lend ourselves to becoming part of a lynch mob deployed for settling political scores by conducting media trials that declare people guilty even when we have not established that they were part of the problems we are addressing.”