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Akpabio padded ₦3tr into 2024 Nigerian budget — Senator Ningi

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Senate President Godswill Akpabio

The Chairman of Northern Senators Forum, Senator Abdul Ningi, has accused the President of the Senate, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, of inserting three trillion Naira into the 2024 appropriation bill without allocation.

Senator Ningi raised the alarm during an interview with BBC Hausa on Saturday, March 9, 2024.

Speaking, Ningi said that lawmakers of the upper chamber, under the leadership of Senator Akpabio, made the discovery after they approved ₦25 trillion for the 2024 budget.

He said: “For the first time in Nigerian history, today we are operating two different budgets.

“One budget approved by National Assembly signed by President Bola Tinubu and the one implemented by presidency.

“The one approved by us is ₦25 trillion while the one operating by Federal Government is ₦28 trillion.

“Apparently we discovered ₦3 trillion was inserted into the budgets without [allocations].

“This is the highest budget padding happened in Nigerian history under Sen Akpabio’s watch.

“We resolved as peoples’ representative to see President Tinubu on this issue, with facts and figures, to ask him if he is aware [of] this embarrassment or not.

“Then from there we will take action. Let Nigerians be patience with us.

“This is national issue; it effects all Nigerians in respect of party, tribe or religion.”

What amount did National Assembly under Akpabio approve for 2024 fiscal year?

It could be recalled that the National Assembly under Akpabio had, on December 30, 2023, passed the budget for the 2024 fiscal year.

The passed budget by the Senate and House of Representatives was raised from N27.5 trillion to N28.7 trillion.

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The two arms of the National Assembly, while passing the 2024 appropriation bill, increased its size from N27.5 trillion proposed by President Bola Tinubu to N28.7 trillion.

The budget size was increased by N1.2 trillion.

It then apparently came as a shock to Nigerians when Ningi said that ₦3 trillion was inserted into the budget by Akpabio without allocations.

The senator also accused Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Federal Government of operating a ₦28 trillion budget, different from the ₦25 trillion approved by lawmakers.

Is the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning culpable?

Earlier, the Honourable Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, called on the National Assembly for “robust collaboration“.

Senator Bagudu made the call during the public presentation of the 2024 budget proposal on November 29, 2023.

The Budget and Economic Planning Minister sought robust collaboration of the National Assembly with the Ministry “to ensure that the plans and visions of the Country are achieved”.

The Minister made the call when the Leadership of the House of Representatives Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

Senator Bagudu said that the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning is in charge of developing short-, medium- and long-term plans for the nation.

“If we agree on a vision or plan as a nation, we should interrogate the plan to change what is wrong and where we are doing well, we continue to achieve the desired objective,” he noted.

Akpabio is yet to respond to the allegation presented by Senator Ningi as at the moment of this publication.

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