In October 2023, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, made a pledge of the sum of N25,000.00 per individual monthly to 15 million vulnerable pensioners for 3 months.
This pledge was made through the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu, during her meeting with the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) early in the month. Following the announcement, the Humanitarian Ministry commenced the modalities for the collation of beneficiaries in a bid to expand the National Social Register and commence payment of the N25,000.00 from November. To make this possible, forms were printed and distributed to potential beneficiaries for data collection.
Reports reaching us has it that the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, collected a total of 1 million forms from the Humanitarian Ministry which he said are meant for veterans of the Nigerian Armed Forces. However, available data indicate that the list of veterans made available to the Humanitarian Ministry by the Defence Minister consists of only 90,000 veterans. Out of this number, not even one veteran has received the initial November grant payment. This makes one wonder what Badaru’s intentions concerning the FG grant are.
This development happens to be one of the underscoring points of Badaru’s time as the Defence Minister. Anyone interested in doing a quick math will realize that 1 million forms for N25,000.00 monthly for 3 months is N75 Billion Naira that is about to go unaccounted for without ever getting to the intended beneficiaries. As it is now, N25 Billion Naira of that money meant for the month of November is as good as gone.
Aside from the issue of corruption indicated above, Mohammed Badaru has actually displayed a nonchalant attitude in matters of National Security. In the same month of October, 80 human corpses were reported to have been discovered at Umuchieze Cattle Market in the Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State, along with 20 headless bodies within the space of 48 hours. This was one issue that left millions of Nigerian’s in shock and expecting a response from those tasked with matters of security. But, there was neither a comment or reaction from Nigeria’s Minister of Defence. He did not even consider the need to arrive the at the community for an on-the-spot assessment, and to allay the fears of the people residing in the community, state and region.
One must understand that cattle markets in every part of the country are mostly operated by over 70% of Northerners who are naturally in the business of cattle rearing, grazing and meat production. This led to the suspicion that a good number of the unidentified corpses may be those of Northern cattle traders who may have fallen victim to the proscribed IPOB group during the EndSARS period when Northern traders were targeted and killed in great numbers in the South East region. It is for this reason that we expected that a Minister of Defence from our region will be quick to attend to, and deescalate any security issue that will threaten our business activities in every part of the country. Alas, he is aloof to such issues, with his sole focus on enriching himself through grants from the Renewed Hope administration. How long shall we continue to experience such incompetence and greed from Badaru? How long before Mr. President wades in and puts a stop to this?