N37bn fraud: Buhari’s ex-minister Umar-Farouq threatens legal action as she alleges malicious attacks on her person

The immediate past minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouk has reacted to media reports linking her to an alleged money laundering case involving a contractor, James Okwete.

Recall that Okwete was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly laundering N37bn.

Umar-Farouk made the rebuttal on Monday in a message posted on X, insisting she served the nation with every sense of responsibility.

The former Minister also made it clear she was ready to defend her actions whenever called upon to do so.

“There have been a number of reports linking me to a purported investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into the activities of one James Okwete, someone completely unknown to me.

“James Okwete neither worked for, nor represented me in any way whatsoever. The linkages and associations to my person are spurious.

“While I resist the urge to engage in any media trial whatsoever, I have however contacted my Legal Team to explore possible options to seek redress on the malicious attack on my person.

“I remain proud to have served my country as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with every sense of responsibility and would defend my actions, stewardship and programmes during my tenure whenever I am called upon to do so.”

This was coming from the former minister days after President Bola Tinubu directed the immediate payment of the backlog of stipends owed to NPower beneficiaries across the country.

Farouq was in charge of the NPower, a federal government scheme designed by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari to move Nigerians from poverty and address youth unemployment in the country.

The scheme, however, was hit with a lot of setbacks as beneficiaries lamented non-payment of their stipends, resulting in a series of protests in Abuja and other parts of the country.

n addressing the lingering issue before Christmas, Tinubu made a directive on Wednesday that over 400,000 beneficiaries of the NPower across the country should be paid their stipends.

Mr Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair, the Minister’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, in a statement on Friday.

He said, “Announcing the release of funds, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty, Dr Betta Edu, said it was indeed a renewed hope for the Nigerian youths for the Christmas and New Year festivities.”

“The minister pointed out that President Tinubu’s interest in Nigerian youths was evidenced by the numerous policies and programmes of his administration largely tailored toward providing opportunities for them.

“I stayed awake with the NPOWER team till 3 am at the office to ensure NPOWER beneficiaries get paid before Christmas in line with the directive of the President.

“Now, I can confirm to you that the payment of NPower beneficiaries has commenced and the evidence is in their bank accounts.”

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