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Home News N3.7trn budget padding: Step aside to allow investigation – Bauchi group tells Akpabio

N3.7trn budget padding: Step aside to allow investigation – Bauchi group tells Akpabio

by Nike
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A group, ‘Amalgamation of Bauchi State Concerned Groups’ has condemned the Senate for suspending Senator Abdul Ningi for alleging that the 2024 budget was padded and called on the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio to “step aside and allow for investigations.”

Chairman of the group, Umar Sa’idu Maigamo, stated this on Tuesday during a press briefing at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat, Bauchi.

He described the suspension of Senator Ningi, who represents Bauchi Central Senatorial District, as “premeditated, hasty, unlawful and undemocratic” on several grounds.

Recall that Senator Abdul Ningi, a former leader of the senate, granted an interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa Service, where he alleged that there were some anomalies in the budget to the sum of N3.7 trillion which could not be traced to any projects or location in the 2024 budget.

His allegations have caused serious crisis and uproar in the Senate leading to his suspension as a member of the Upper Chamber for three months by the Senate President. He subsequently resigned as Chairman of the Northern Senators Forum.

Maigamo stated that instead of giving Senator Ningi fair hearing or in the alternative, order for a forensic analysis of the entire budget, the Senate went ahead to execute its “premeditated action.”

“We view this action of the Senate as an attempt not only to conceal the truth but to prevent the Senator from exercising his legislative duties and constitutional right,” he said.

He commended Senator Abdul Ningi “for his courage, doggedness and patriotism by exposing the inadequacies in the budget,” pointing out that such inadequacies include a situation where some constituencies got allocations as high as N120 billion while others got less than a billion wondering that “is it in line with the assertion of a senator that ‘not all animals are equal?’

The Chairman, who condemned and rejected Ningi’s suspension, also described it as “undemocratic,” demanded an immediate response and stated “in unequivocal terms that we would never back down or compromise our stand over these demands.”

“We demand that the Senate President should immediately step aside and allow investigation of the allegations in line with the rules of the Senate. The Senate should immediately withdraw the illegal and undemocratic suspension of Senator Ningi and tender an unreserved apology to the senator and to the good people of Bauchi Central Senatorial District whom he ably represents.

“The Senate should order for an investigation into the allegation of N500 million given to some selected ranking senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The 2024 budget be reviewed and all anomalies therein be corrected with immediate effect.

“We would like to make it categorically clear that should the Senate insist on denying Senator Ningi a fair hearing, we, the good people of Bauchi State, particularly constituents from the Bauchi Central Senatorial District, will follow all lawful and democratic means to seek for redress.

“It is imperative that our democracy must thrive on the principle of justice fairness and accountability. We must uphold such values and hold our elected officials accountable for their actions and inactions,” he said.

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