Amidst budget padding allegation: Senate suspends Ningi for 3 months

On Tuesday, March 12, the Senate suspended Abdul Ningi, a senator, for three months over the allegation he brought that the National Assembly padded the 2024 budget.

The suspended Senator also alleged that the red chamber passed two budget versions.

The suspension of Ningi, representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly on Tuesday resulted in a tense atmosphere at the Senate.


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Ningi, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is the Senate Committee on Population chairman. He is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. 

Some senators from the northern part of the country had earlier rejected Ningi’s accusations, claiming the Senator from Bauchi State did not speak for them, even as the parties demanded an investigation into the allegation. 

On Monday, however, Ningi maintained that the 2024 budget could not account for N3.7 trillion.

A member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Jimoh Ibrahim, proposed suspending Ningi for a year due to false information and violations of peace in the National Assembly and, by extension, the nation.

Additionally, Ibrahim, the Senator representing Ondo South Senatorial District, moved that the Senate issue a warning to Suleiman Kawu of Kano South on his posting of inflammatory material on social media and require him to submit an apology. 

Ede Dafinone of the Delta Central Senatorial District promptly seconded Ibrahim’s proposal.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio announced the motion to suspend Ningi on the Senate floor. 

Ningi had on Monday indicted the National Assembly for padding the 2024 budget with a whooping sum of N3tn.

In a press conference on Monday, March 11, the Senator told journalists that he never said that the president was running two budgets, but that was an N3.7 trillion that had yet to be accounted for.

He said he had not stated that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was implementing two budgets at any time.

“There was no time, nor did I say Bola Tinubu was biased against the north. The Hausa version is there. At no time did I say Bola Ahmed Tinubu is implementing the N25 trillion budget.

“I said we have established beyond reasonable doubt that N25trillion so far has nexus in the budget.

“That means that there is money, there is a project, and then there is location. But we are yet to ascertain N3tn of that budget,” he said.

He explained that the budget evaluation is ongoing, and the northern senators’ intention regarding budgetary allocation was to meet the Senate President with their findings and subsequently meet President Tinubu.




     

     

    Tinubu signed the 2024 appropriation bill into law ON January 1, 2024.

    His action followed the passing of the appropriation bill by the Senate after its third reading and consideration and approval of the report of the Joint Committee on Appropriation of the House of Representatives and the Senate on December 30, 2023.

    The version of the bill passed by the Senate showed an increase of over N1.2 trillion from the N27.5 trillion proposal that Tinubu laid before the joint sitting of the National Assembly on November 29.

    A breakdown of the approved budget by the Senate showed an aggregate expenditure of N28.7 trillion, including N1.7 trillion for statutory transfers. 

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