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‘Budget padding’: Senate appropriations chair kicks against closed session

‘Budget padding’: Senate appropriations chair kicks against closed session
March 12
11:30 2024

Tuesday’s senate plenary was yet to commence when palpable drama crept through the marbled floor of the red chamber. 

Solomon Adeola, chair of the senate committee on appropriations, arrived the chamber fuming and visibly angry.

“No closed-door session. It must be open,” Adeola said.

Shortly afterwards, Sunday Karimi, senator representing Kogi west, walked up to Adeola’s seat and they both were locked in conversation for a couple of minutes.

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Karimi is one of the lawmakers who have refuted Abdul Ningi’s budget padding allegation.

Adeola’s outburst is not unconnected with the allegation by Ningi, senator representing Bauchi central, that the 2024 budget was padded by N3 trillion.

At the weekend, the Bauchi senator stirred the hornet’s nest when he alleged that “huge damage” has been done to the country through the budget.

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The national assembly had passed a budget of N28.7 trillion for the 2024 fiscal year.

President Bola Tinubu had proposed N27.5 trillion, but the lawmakers jerked it up by N1.2 trillion.

On Sunday, Adeola wanted to react to the allegation but checked himself because “there were procedures that needed to be followed in addressing the situation”.

“As you people can see, many senators are here with me across the six geo-political zones to react to what a senator said at the weekend on alleged two versions of the 2024 budget,” he had said.

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“After realising that there are laid down procedures and processes to follow in dealing with such a matter involving an insider, we have decided to shift the venue of reaction to the senate chamber on Tuesday, after which, briefings would be made to journalists.”

TheCable had reported how Ningi risks a suspension for his budget padding allegation.

Ningi has said some of his remarks on the budget have been taken out of context.

“At no time did I say Bola Ahmed Tinubu is implementing two budgets. At no time did I say Bola Tinubu was biased against the north. The Hausa version (of the interview) is there,” Ningi said during a press briefing on Monday.

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“At no time did I say Bola Tinubu is implementing N25 trillion budget. The Hausa version is there.”

The senator had, however, insisted on his budget padding allegation, adding that he is not scared of a suspension.

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