• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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PDP tells Akpabio to step aside over N3.7trn budget allegation

PDP tells Akpabio to step aside over N3.7trn budget allegation

…says it stands with Senator Ningi

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has asked Godswill Akpabio, Senate President, to resign from office immediately over the allegation of N3.7 trillion budget padding to allow for independent investigation.

The money was allegedly inserted discreetly into the 2024 Budget for non-existent projects by Abdul Ningi, PDP Senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District.

In a statement by Debo Ologunagba, the PDP Spokesman, the party also demands that Akpabio immediately reports at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the pending case of alleged looting of N108 billion belonging to the people of Akwa Ibom State under his watch as governor of the State.

The party also demanded that the Senate President should speak out on the reported N86 billion contract scam in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) during his tenure as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.

The PDP also condemned the suspension of 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.

Ologunagba described the suspension of Abdul Ningi as a “desperate move to suppress investigation, conceal and sweep the facts under the carpet”

The party also noted that the frustration of investigation by the APC Senate leadership further confirmed PDP’s repeated alert that prominent APC officials in the National Assembly and a top official in the Presidency had been using Ministers and other Government functionaries to siphon budgeted funds from the national coffers.

“We ask, why did the APC leadership in the Senate not refer the matter to the appropriate Senate 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?

“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 offenses under our laws.

“Nigerians can now see why the APC leadership in the National Assembly, especially in the Senate continues to condone the unbridled looting of public resources including funds meant for palliatives for poor and vulnerable citizens.

“This apparent inclination towards covering up sleaze in the polity is already pitching the institution of the Senate against Nigerians who are demanding for answers on the matter. Of course, the widely condemned suspension of Senator Ningi does not provide answers to the budget padding allegation.

“It is indeed unfortunate and a huge smear on the image of the Senate, as the highest lawmaking and probity Institution in the country, that its Presiding Officer has found himself in a quagmire of alleged sleaze and betrayal of public trust”, the statement said.

The statement added that the party stood with Abdul Ningi for his courage in seeking probity and accountability in the polity.

“What Nigerians expect at this moment is for the Senate President to come clean by stepping aside, allowing for an independent investigation into the budget padding allegation as well as clearing his name at the EFCC over alleged looting of N108 billion and N86 billion under his watch as governor of Akwa Ibom State and minister of Niger Delta Affairs respectively”, it said