Alleged Budget-padding: “Step down immediately”, PDP tells Akpabio

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked Senate President Godswill Akpabio to “immediately step aside” and allow for an independent investigation into the allegation that the 2024 appropriation act was padded by N3 trillion.

Recall that at the weekend, Senator representing Bauchi-central, Abdul Ningi, 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 senator was suspended for three months.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the PDP said Akpabio is not fit to continue as senate president. The PDP condemned Ningi’s suspension, saying there was no detailed investigation of the claims raised by the lawmaker.

The statement issued by PDP spokesperson, Debo Ologunagba, read in part: “The PDP firmly condemns the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi by the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership in the Senate without a detailed inquest into the issue of budget padding which he raised,” s.

The party said Ningi’s suspension is “apparently a desperate move to suppress investigation, conceal and sweep the facts under the carpet”, adding that the Senate should have referred the claim to a standing committee for an open investigation in line with the extant rules of the senate.

“What is the APC senate leadership afraid of? and what is it hiding from Nigerians?” the party asked.

“It is even more absurd that instead of recusing himself, the Senate President sat as a judge in the matter; a situation that has the capacity to bring the institution of the Senate to further public disrepute. This is especially as the issues at hand heavily border on alleged gross misconduct and criminal betrayal of public trust which are serious offences under our laws”.

The PDP said the lack of a thorough investigation of the claim has smeared the image of the Senate.

“Our Party therefore stands with Senator Ningi for his courage in seeking probity and accountability in the polity”, the opposition party said.

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