Budget Padding: SERAP Urges Akpabio to Reinstate Ningi Immediately

Senate President Godswill Akpabio
Senate President Godswill Akpabio Google photos

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has called on Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, to reinstate Senator Abdul Ningi, who was suspended for three months for his budget padding allegation.

Ningi, the lawmaker representing Bauchi Central, is facing a three-month suspension for an interview where he claimed that the National Assembly inflated the 2024 budget to N28.7 trillion from N25 trillion.

In the interview, it was highlighted that Nigeria is now operating on two separate budgets for the first time in its history. The National Assembly approved a budget of N25 trillion, signed by President Bola Tinubu, and an additional N28 trillion was implemented by the presidency.

Following his resignation as the Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum, Ningi was replaced by Senator Abdulaziz Yar’Adua from APC Katsina Central constituency two days later.

The group, in a statement dated March 16, 2024 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, has called on Akpabio to reinstate whistleblower Abdul Ningi, who was suspended from the Senate over his claims of budget padding.

SERAP also recommended that the Senate President refer the allegation of the 2024 budget padding by lawmakers to the country’s anti-graft agencies – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Crimes Commission for proper investigation, as a means to improve public trust in the Senate.

Part of the statement says, “Referring these allegations to appropriate anticorruption agencies would be consistent with the lawmakers’ oath of office and the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended).”

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