More Confusion as Senate Denies N500million Largesse to Members, Says ‘missing’ N3.7trillion Budgeted for INEC, UBEC Others

The Senate has clarified the confusion over the accusation made by Senator Abdul Ningi alleging that over N3trillion was illegally “inserted” in the 2024 national budget cannot be accounted for.

FACTSHEET reported that the Senate after a rancorous debate over the allegation slammed three months suspension on the Bauchi Central Senator and also mandated that he writes a letter of apology to the Senate.

In similar manner, the Red Chamber also resolved to “caution” Senator Sumaila Kawu who represents Kano North on the platform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) on the grounds that he was an accessory to spreading fake new by sharing what the Senate determined was false information on the WhatsApp group of Northern Senators’ Forum (NSF).

N3 billion NOT Missing

Briefing journalists after the plenary session at the Senate Press Centre, the Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Sen. Yemi Adaramodu who describes Ningi’s accusation as ‘fake news” and a “puff in the air that could not be substantiated” explained that the N3trillion alleged to be padded in 2024 budget was money captured in the first line-charge, otherwise referred to as statutory transfers to critical Federal Government departments including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC), the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), National Judicial Council (NJC), the National Assembly (NASS), Public Complaints Commission (PCC), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC),  North East Development Commission (NEDC)

Adaramodu categorically stated, “The N3 trillion is for statutory transfers of government agencies on the first lines charges.”

“It is a matter of integrity, issue of budget has been put to rest as the protagonist of the budget padding were called to substantiate and they could not prove it but the allegations cannot just go without being attended to.

“The Appropriation Act is a public document and when it was done, it was done in the public glare and it was N28.77 trillion and so for some to say N25 trillion was what was approved is scary.

“Statutory transfers for agencies on first line charges, that are not domiciled in the Ministries was what Ningi said was padded, that the allocation cannot be traced.”

The spokesman insisted that at no time during the budget works was there any discrepancy in the figures of the budget either at the presentation to the joint session of the National Assembly by President Bola Tinubu or during the harmonization meetings held by the joint committee of both chambers on the budget.

“No Senator was given N500 million”

Reacting to the issue raised during the debate on the floor of the Senate by the lawmaker representing Cross River North, Senator  Jarigbe Agom-Jarigbe that some ranking members were allocated N500 million in the budget,  the Senate Spokesman again denied that there was such money allocated to individual senators.

Jarigbe had said, “If we want to go into this issue, all of us are culpable. Some senators here, so-called senior senators got N500 million each. I am a ranking senator, I didn’t get. Did I go to the press? Most of you got. We don’t have to go into those issues,”

Adaramodu in dismissing the claim said it was a mere “fairy tale.” He said, No senator was given N500 million, no senator was given such money.” “In fact, there is nothing like that.”

Recall that during the debate, the Senate Leader and lawmaker representing Ekiti Central, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele while reacting to Jarigbe’s reference to the N500 million allocation to some “ranking senators” said that “yes, I don’t have any apology on that” because our constituents will see “more boreholes, more roads and other benefits.

He reiterated that the N3trillion was not padded, was not missing, but was for agencies of government that were placed on first line charge.

He also said the allegation that a section of the country was allocated more funds than other regions was not put in right perspective, saying that allocations was done sectoriallly.

The Senate image maker said the integrity of National Assembly was in question, hence the matter was treated with the seriousness it deserve.

Sen Opeyemi’s “civilian Coup” accusation

The speech of the Senate leader, Opeyemi Bamidele who accused Sen. Abdul Ningi of planning a “civilian coup” using the Northern Senators Forum (NSF) is yet another contentious issue that may just be a beginning of more debate in the 10th senate.

Opeyemi who made it clear that he was not speaking as the Senate Leader, but as a “southern senator” and in his personal capacity as the representative of the people of Ekiti Central in address Sen. Ningi stated that since the election of Akpabio as the President of the Senate, many senator from the north had vowed to ensure that he (Akpabio) did not mark one year in the office.

He said:


“Over 60 senators voted for Godswill Akpabio, but over 40 voted against Akpabio, the will of the majority. But a few have refused to let the electioneering activities pass them by. They still hold bile, and that is why it is always about Akpabio, never about the Senate, House of Representatives, DG, o fBudget.

“It’s always about Akpabio, never about the Senate. This is a defining moment for us to say if we’re going to have a stable Senate, let us have one. It’s not about north and south; it’s about our rules; it’s about our people who are hungry and deprived.

“Mr President (Akpabio), you are sitting as chair. Make no mistake about it. A few people who felt they would not give you more than one year to spend on this chair want to do everything possible before June 13 to remove you.”

“The last time the entire people of the South had the chance to be Senate president was during Obasanjo regime when it went to the South-East.

“Five people  were elected in quick succession. But as soon as it left the South, we had peace and stability again because we will always cooperate.

“David Mark spent eight years; Senator Ahmed Lawan spent peaceful four years. Saraki even with all he did spent four years, he was not impeached. It is about Akpabio, it is about the South. You can now understand why Senator Ningi will want to use the name of the Northern Senators Forum even when most of them did not agree to it.”

However, reacting to what he called a “wild allegation” and blatant “lies aimed at covering the fraud being perpetrated by the leadership of the Senate, a lawmaker from the North Central who said he would not want his name in print yet “until we meet [Northern Caucus],” insisted that the matter was not over yet. He said that “Senator Opeyemi deliberately forgot that while Gbajabiamila never allowed Dogara to rest as Speaker, he Gbajabiamila had a smooth four years leadership of the House of Representatives.”


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