• Friday, April 12, 2024
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Ningi’s suspension has not addressed vital issues from the padding allegations – Peter Obi

Peter Obi

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the last presidential election, said the suspension of Abdul Ningi from the Senate has not addressed the vital issues emanating from the budget padding allegation leveled against the red chamber.

“The fuss over the alleged N3 trillion padded into the 2024 budget raised by a Senator still rages as the Senate’s reaction of suspending the whistle-blower has not addressed vital issues emanating from the allegation,”
Obi said this in a statement on his X account on Wednesday afternoon.

His statement comes in the wake of the Senate’s suspension of Ningi, the senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, who raised the alarm over the purported N3 trillion padding in the budget.

In his statement, Obi highlighted fresh claims regarding the indiscriminate and unbalanced allocation of constituency projects by the Senate leadership. Also, civic society group Budgit raised concerns about the lack of detailed project allocations totaling about N3.7 trillion in the 2024 Appropriation Act.

The former governor of Anambra underscored the significance of the alleged padded amount, even if reduced to N1.2 trillion by the executive branch.

He emphasised the potential impact of redirecting such funds to critical sectors like education, health, and poverty alleviation.

“Now that the executive arm has accepted that the padded amount is only N1.2 trillion, it is still a very significant amount, when you consider that it is almost 5 times the N251.47 billion proposed for Universal Basic Education, which is the foundation of education, in the Country. Today in Nigeria, the greatest challenge to human resource development is education, which has been identified as most critical at the basic level,” he said.

Obi stressed the urgent need to address wastage of public resources amid prevailing hardships in the country.

The former presidential candidate pointed out that Nigeria currently faces significant challenges in education, with approximately 20 million out-of-school children due to poor investment in the sector. He argued that redirecting the alleged padded funds towards education and other critical areas could help address these challenges and uplift the nation.

Obi called for transparent and accountable use of public funds to foster national development and achieve the vision of a better Nigeria.

He urged the Senate to conduct more detailed work in channeling funds into critical areas of development and emphasised the importance of putting a stop to wastage of scarce resources in order to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.

“I strongly urge the Senate to do more detailed work of channelling these funds into the critical areas of development – education, health and pulling people out of poverty, which will in turn, minimise the criminality we are facing today. We must, as a matter of urgency, put a stop to all the wastage of our scarce resources, amid the excruciating hardship in the country,” Obi said.