The Young Progressive Party (YPP) has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to suspend Nigeria’s Interior Minister, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, amid the ongoing heated debates surrounding his involvement in the scandalous contract at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

The party vowed to organize young people nationwide to shut down Abuja on Monday, January 15, 2024, if Tunji-Ojo was not suspended within 48 hours.

The YPP called for the head of Tunji-Ojo in an open letter to President Tinubu on Tuesday night, citing alleged “abuse of office” as justification. The letter was signed by the party’s National Chairman, Comrade Emmanuel Bishop Amakiri, and said it would prevent Tinubu from abusing public office in the future.

“We have gathered evidence that a company owned by Minister Tunji Ojo, New Planet Project Limited, was paid a total of N438.1 million by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation under the leadership of Dr. Betta Edu, for consultancy services.

“This payment was part of the N3 billion awarded to several consultants for the National Social Register contract, which was intended for cash transfers and social investment programs.

“The payments made to Minister Tunji Ojo’s company, New Planet Project Limited, include N279 million for the verification of the list and an additional N159 million for the same purpose.

“It is worth noting that the company, which was registered on March 3, 2009, with registration number 804833, has Minister Tunji Ojo and his wife, Abimbola, listed as directors, with Gbadamasi Gbadamasi Clement as the company’s secretary.

“We strongly believe that Minister Tunji Ojo’s actions are in direct violation of the Nigerian Constitution and the Code of Conduct law. Sections 5 and 6 of the Code of Conduct law clearly prohibit public officers from engaging in conflicts of interest and participating in any business other than farming.

“It is a known fact that a contract of this magnitude could not have been approved except by the Federal Executive Council Meeting of which Minister Tunji Ojo is a Member.

“Minister Tunji Ojo, who knew he had an interest in the New Planet Project Limited, had deceived the Federal Executive Council into approving the contract for him without even informing the FEC that he is a shareholder in the said company; this is deceitful, mischievous and obtaining by false pretence”, the letter reads in part.

The coordinator of the national program manager for grants to vulnerable groups, Thalis Apalowo, was also named by the party as helping Tunji-Ojo obtain the contract by acting as a front.

During the 9th House of Representatives, Apalowo worked as Hon. Tunji-Ojo’s legislative assistant. It was alleged that Apalowo was part of Dr. Betta Edu, the suspended minister of humanitarian affairs, and her advance team. The team was allegedly paid N2,515,000 for DTA (Daily Travel Allowance) for five nights, local running expenses at 30% of DTA, flight tickets, and airport taxis to Kogi State, which lacks an airport.

In addition to demanding a “comprehensive and independent investigation into the alleged misconduct, involving the appropriate authorities and agencies,” the party urged the President to suspend Tunji-Ojo immediately.

To discourage others, the YPP encouraged Tinubu to launch “appropriate legal actions against Minister Tunji Ojo.”

Recall that a corporation controlled by Hon. Tunji-Ojo was connected to the contract award to verify the beneficiaries’ list in the empowerment initiatives run by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

Nevertheless, the Interior Minister has clarified that he gave up ownership in New Planet Project Limited after being elected to the House of Representatives in 2019.

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