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Senator Ningi suspended from Senate over budget padding.

Abdul Ningi, the senator from Bauchi Central, has been suspended by the Senate for a period of three months.

Following around three hours of discussion regarding his interview, in which he claimed that the National Assembly had inflated the budget for 2024 by N28.7 trillion, Ningi was suspended.

Additionally, the Senate cautioned Senator Suleiman Kawu (NNPP, Kano South) from disseminating unsettling information about the Senate.

In order to bring a motion of privilege and matter of national interest against Ningi about his interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (Hausa Service), Senator Olamilekan Adeola had come under Orders 9, 10, 41, and 51.

In the interview on Saturday, Ningi had claimed that the budget being executed by the Presidency is N28.7tn, whereas the one approved by the National Assembly for the 2024 fiscal year is N25tn.

“We are operating two different budgets today for the first time in Nigerian history,” he was reported as adding. President Bola Tinubu signed a budget that was authorised by the National Assembly, and the presidency carried out the other.

“The Federal Government operates one for ₦28tn, while the one we approved is ₦25tn.”

It seems that we found that ₦3tn was added to the budget for projects that had no locations. Under Senator Akpabio’s direction, the largest budget padding in Nigerian history has occurred.

During a press conference on Monday, Ningi stated that the 2024 budget did not account for N3 trillion.

In his motion, Adeola said that during the January–December budget cycle, subcommittees submitted their harmonised reports to the Committee on Appropriations. On Saturday, December 30, 2023, the Senate unanimously passed the Committee on Appropriations’ report, and on January 1, 2024, the President signed a budget totaling N28.77 trillion.

“The extra N1.2 trillion above the President’s proposal was obtained during the appropriations process through requests for additional funding and some items of expenditure to the Committee that were not included in the President’s bill. These items were intended to address additional funding for the National Assembly, Health, Science and Technology, Education, Water Resources, Judiciary, Agriculture and Food Security, Works, and National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme; please see attached details.” the speaker stated.

“The benchmark of naira to dollar increased from N750 to N800, and other sources, along with an increase in the revenue of Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs),” the statement reads.

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