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Controversy in senate as northern lawmaker alleges N3trn budget padding

Controversy in senate as northern lawmaker alleges N3trn budget padding
March 10
07:46 2024

Abdul Ningi, senator representing Bauchi Central, has alleged that the 2024 budget was padded with N3 trillion in the national assembly.

Speaking in an interview with BBC Hausa, Ningi said the northern senators have engaged with some experts to review the budget.

Ningi, who is the chairman of the Northern Senators Forum, said “huge damage” has been done to the north and the entire country in the budget.

The Bauchi senator said the northern senators are expected to meet with Senate President Godswill Akpabio and President Bola Tinubu, to discuss their observations.

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“We have engaged consultants to review the budget for us. We have some experts that are working on it line by line,” he said.

“We have seen the huge damage that was done not only to the north but the entire country in that budget.

“We are supposed to sit with the senate president to inform him about what we have observed.

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“We want to show him what we have seen in the budget that is not acceptable, we will not accept them and we don’t want the country to continue spending money on those things.

“Apart from what the national assembly did on the floor, there was another budget that was done underground which we didn’t know.

“The new things we have discovered in the budget were not known to us. We haven’t seen them in the budget that was debated and considered on the floor of the national assembly.”

Ningi said the northern elites are not happy with the government because of the neglect of the region.

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“For example, we had a budget of N28 trillion but after our checks, we found out that it was a budget of N25 trillion. How and where did we get the additional N3 trillion from, what are we spending it for?” he asked.

“This is what we intended to do. We are to meet the president. We will talk to him about the Mambila power project, Ajaokuta and the River Niger dredging.

“We will talk to him about the Niger Republic. Recently, they said they will construct a dam, this is not good for us.”

Contrary to the senator’s claims, though, publicly available documents show that in December 2023, the two arms of the national assembly passed the 2024 appropriation bill, increasing its size from N27.5 trillion proposed by Tinubu to N28.7 trillion.

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The budget has N1.7 trillion as statutory transfers, N8.7 trillion as recurrent expenditure, and N9.9 trillion as capital expenditure and other line items.

 

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