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Alleged 3.7trn Budget Padding: PDP asks Akpabio to step down

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LP senators fume over nomination of minority leaders by Akpabio

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked Godswill Akpabio, the Senate President to “immediately step aside” and allow for an independent investigation into the allegation that the 2024 appropriation act was padded by N3.7 trillion.

Abdul Ningi, senator representing Bauchi central, had alleged that the 2024 budget was padded by N3 trillion and that the country is operating two budgets concurrently.

The allegation caused nationwide uproar, and on Tuesday, it was debated at the committee of the whole of the red chamber, amid a rowdy session.

Subsequently, the senator was suspended for three months.

Reacting to the drama in a statement by Debo Ologunagba, PDP spokesperson, issued on Wednesday, the PDP said Akpabio is not fit to continue as senate president.

The PDP condemned Ningi’s suspension, saying there was no detailed investigation of the claims raised by the lawmaker.

“The PDP firmly condemns the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi by the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership in the Senate without a detailed inquest into the issue of budget padding which he raised,” the statement reads.

The party said Ningi’s suspension is “apparently a desperate move to suppress investigation, conceal and sweep the facts under the carpet”.

The PDP said the senate should have referred the claim to a standing committee for an open investigation in line with the extant rules of the senate.

“What is the APC senate leadership afraid of and what is it hiding from Nigerians?” the party asked.

“It is even more absurd that instead of recusing himself, the Senate President sat as a judge in the matter; a situation that has the capacity to bring the institution of the Senate to further public disrepute.

“This is especially as the issues at hand heavily border on alleged gross misconduct and criminal betrayal of public trust which are serious offences under our laws.”

The PDP said the lack of a thorough investigation of the claim has smeared the image of the senate.

“Our Party therefore stands with Senator Ningi for his courage in seeking probity and accountability in the polity,” the opposition party said.

 

Senate planning to arrest me — Abdul Ningi

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Meanwhile, Abdul Ningi has alleged that the Senate is making plans to arrest him over his allegation.

Ningi disclosed this in an interview on Arise Television, noting that he has come a long way, and knows the senate well.

He added, “Have they ever asked me since the beginning of this so-called crisis, where are your findings? Where are the documents? I’m not using my head to come up with figures.

“Nobody has talked to me about evidence. Nobody has suggested even listening to me. All they are trying to do is to ensure that ‘how do we make sure that Ningi is silenced or arrested so that he doesn’t do anything?’

“I have opened this can of worms. Neither they nor I will be able to control it.”

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