• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Akpabio says Senate’s integrity “totally damaged” by budget padding allegation

Akpabio’s 10th Senate breaks tradition, operates without legislative agenda

Godswill Akpabio, Nigeria’s top lawmaker, on Tuesday said the integrity of the Senate has been subjected to ridicule following the controversy that rocked the interview granted by Senator Abdul Ningi.

Ningi, who represents Bauchi Central, claimed in a recent interview with BBC Hausa that the National Assembly passed a budget of N25 trillion for 2024, which is in contrast to the N28.7 trillion being implemented by the federal government.

Speaking during an open session on the floor of the Senate, Akpabio said the reputation of the Senate has been soiled as Nigerians are bashing the parliament from all over the world.

“Nigerians are bashing the Senate. Many Nigerians will never in future come back to respect this chamber. The integrity of this chamber has been totally damaged and we wanted you to repair it with your speech,” he said.

The senate president faulted Ningi’s earlier interview and for also granting a follow-up interview where he purportedly justified his initial claim of budget padding.

“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. Social media is very fast. From Canada, the United States, everywhere, the story was about budget padding by the Senate,” Akpabio stated.

Akpabio, quoting a certain media report, said the purported budget padding was described as “the highest level of budget padding in Nigeria’s history where the budget passed a budget of N25 trillion but what we collected was N28 trillion.”

The senate president recalled that President Tinubu presented a budget proposal of N27.5 trillion to the National Assembly last November.

He also dismissed rumours that the President presented a budget estimate of N25 trillion, a move that has been clarified by the presidency also.