PDP Demands Probe into alleged N3trn padding of 2024 Budget

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Bola Tinubu to order an open investigation into the allegation that the 2024 budget was padded by N3 trillion.

Last week, Abdul Ningi, senator representing Bauchi central, stirred controversy when he alleged that the 2024 budget was padded by N3 trillion and that the country is operating two budgets concurrently.

On Tuesday, the allegation was debated at the “committee of the whole” of the red chamber, amid a rowdy session.

Subsequently, the Bauchi senator was suspended for three months.

On Wednesday, the PDP asked Senate President Godswill Akpabio to “immediately step aside” and allow for an independent investigation of the allegation.

The PDP condemned Ningi’s suspension, saying there was no detailed investigation of the claims raised by the lawmaker.

In a statement issued on Friday, Debo Ologunagba, PDP spokesperson, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership in the senate is seeking to use “diversionary press statements to suppress” the demand for an open investigation into the alleged budget padding.

“It is clear that it is jittery that an open and detailed investigation into the allegation will further expose the perpetrators and how money was allegedly shared among APC lawmakers,” the statement reads.

“It is highly provocative that at this time when Nigerians are passing through severe economic hardship, the APC leadership in the Senate is busy defending and frustrating investigation into allegation of massive manipulation and looting of resources meant for the wellbeing of the citizens.

“The Akpabio-led APC leadership in the Senate ought to know that no amount of threats, harassment, suspension of whistleblowers and attempts to blackmail the opposition through diversionary press statements and sponsored articles in a section of the media can suppress the demand for an open investigation into the alleged budget padding which is already in the public domain.

“More importantly, the failure by the Akpabio-led APC leadership to allow for investigation into the budget padding allegation constitutes a huge smear on the image of the Senate and destroys its rectitude and integrity to perform its Constitutional duty to investigate and oversight other public institutions; a situation that spells doom to our Constitutional democracy if not immediately checked.”

The opposition party said if Akpabio has nothing to fear, he should immediately recall Ningi and allow for an open and detailed investigation of the allegation.

The party asked Tinubu to “restore the integrity of the 2024 budget by immediately ordering an open investigation into the alleged insertion as well as a holistic review of the budget”.

Source: The Cable

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