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N28 trillion Budget Padding Saga: Senate President Akpabio Says Integrity Of Senate Chamber Totally Damaged In Nigeria And Globally

N28 trillion Budget Padding Saga: Senate President Akpabio Says Integrity Of Senate Chamber Damaged In Nigeria And Globally

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Godswill Akpabio

 

The Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has said that the integrity of the Nigerian Senate has been damaged.

Akpabio said this on Tuesday amid the controversy trailing the allegations made by Senator Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, that the 2024 budget was heavily padded by the Senate President.

Senator Ningi in a recent interview with BBC Hausa claimed that the National Assembly passed a budget of N25 trillion for the 2024 fiscal appropriation year.

According to the lawmaker, the passed budget is in contrast with the N28.7 trillion being implemented by the federal government.

While speaking during an open session on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, monitored by Newsmediang, Akpabio said the Senate had been subjected to ridicule as Nigerians were bashing the parliament.

The Senate President faulted Ningi’s initial interview and knocked him for also granting a follow-up interview where he purportedly justified his initial claim of budget padding.

Akpabio said, “Nigerians are bashing the Senate”.

“Many Nigerians will never in future come back to respect this chamber. The integrity of this chamber has been damaged and we wanted you to repair it with your speech.

“Instead of that, you said you have more documents to prove what you are saying. This thing is in the public glare. I have not received full details up to this moment. If you had given me full details, I would have been able to know what you know.

“So far, what you know is only known to you, it is not known to any other person. I don’t know how you rushed to the press carrying different versions. The social media is very fast. From Canada, the United States, everywhere, the story was budget padding by the Senate.

“I can quote a section of the Premium Times that said ‘This is the highest level of budget padding in Nigeria’s history where the Senate passed a budget of N25 trillion but what we collected was N28 trillion.’”

According to him, President Bola Tinubu presented a budget proposal of N27.5 trillion to the National Assembly in November 2023.

Akpabio therefore dismissed rumours that President Tinubu presented a budget estimate of N25 trillion, a move he said had been clarified by the presidency.

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