Alleged Budget Padding: I was misquoted, ready to carry my cross -Ningi

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Population, Abdul Ningi, has stated that there was an N3.7tn inserted into the 2024 Appropriation Bill.

In a chat with Senate correspondents on Monday, the Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum said he is ready to carry his cross, even if it means suspension from the Red Chamber.

Ningi clarified that he never suggested that President Bola Tinubu was implementing two budgets or that he was biased against the North.

He clarified that he stands by his utterance as a Senator and not the Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum and that it has been established beyond doubt that N25trn was rightly allocated in the budget, citing three parameters (money, project, and location) but cannot ascertain the project location for the other N3trn.

“I said we have established beyond reasonable doubt that N25tn 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.

“We have established the N3tn of that budget, we have not established its location and the place.”

Ningi, in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (Hausa Service) on Saturday, alleged that the budget passed by the National Assembly for the 2024 fiscal year is N25tn while the one being implemented by the Presidency is N28.7tn.

However was quoted as saying, “For the first time in Nigerian history, today we are operating two different budgets. One budget was approved by the National Assembly and signed by President Bola Tinubu and the one was implemented by the Presidency.”

He stated, “The one approved by us is ₦25tn while the one operating by the Federal Government is ₦28tn

“We discovered ₦3tn was inserted into the budgets for projects without locations. This is the highest budget padding that happened in Nigerian history under Senator Akpabio’s watch.”

Ningi said he was misquoted, and that he never mentioned that President Bola Tinubu was running two budgets.

He added that he granted his recent interview on the matter as a lawmaker and not on behalf of the Northern Senators Forum.

The Bauchi senator was further quoted to have said, “We resolved as people representatives 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.

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