Rowdy session as senators confront Ningi over budget padding allegation

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Senator Ningi

The Senate is currently in a rowdy session after a revelation by Senator Jarigbe Jarigbe (PDP, Cross-River North) that all ranking senators got the sum of N500 million.

Jarigbe at the plenary on Tuesday stated this during the debate of the motion on breach of privilege moved by Senator Olamilekan Adeola.

Senator Adeola had come under orders 9, 10, 41, and 51 to move a motion of privilege and issue of National importance against Senator Abdul Ningi over his interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (Hausa Services).

Senator Ningi had, 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 N25trn while the one being implemented by the Presidency is N28.7trn.

Ningi, in the interview, was quoted to have said, “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 ₦25trn while the one operating by the Federal Government is ₦28trn.

“Apparently, we discovered ₦3trn 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.”

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.

“Let Nigerians be patient with us. This is a national issue; it affects all Nigerians in respective of party, tribe or religion.”

Jarigbe stated that the issue had been clarified that there missing N3.7trn, as alleged by Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi Central), had been clarified under the Government Owned Enterprises and first line charge.

He said, “I thought this issue should have ended when the chairman of Committee on Appropriation, explained that the N3.7trn were under GOEs and the first line charge.

“That explains everything but if we want to express our grouse, I also have mine and we are all culpable. After all, all the ranking senators got N500m each. I am a ranking senator and I didn’t get.”

Having disclosed this, the Senate was thrown into a rowdy session.