Budget Padding: We Stand with Senator Ningi, Says PDP, Asks Akpabio to Step Aside

The controversy surrounding the accusation of budget padding by suspended Senator Abdul Ningi continues to stir unrest. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) called on Senate President Godswill Akpabio to step aside to allow an independent investigation into the alleged N3.7 trillion budget padding for 2024.

Senator Ningi, representing Bauchi Central, received a three-month suspension from the Senate on Tuesday following his claims in an interview that the National Assembly inflated the 2024 budget to N28.7 trillion.

In response, the PDP, through its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, voiced support for Senator Ningi and criticized the Senate leadership for suspending him without conducting a thorough investigation into the budget padding allegations he raised.

The party said: “The Peoples Democratic Party demands that the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, immediately step aside and allow for an independent investigation into the allegation that a staggering N3.7 trillion was discreetly inserted into the 2024 budget for alleged non-existent projects.

“The party also demands that Senator Akpabio immediately reports at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission 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.

“Furthermore, the Senate President should speak out on the reported N86bn contract scam in the Niger Delta Development Commission during his tenure as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.”

The PDP also described Ningi’s suspension as a desperate move to suppress investigation, conceal, and sweep the facts under the carpet.

“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 true as the issues at hand heavily border on alleged gross misconduct and criminal betrayal of public trust which are serious offenses under our laws.”

“This apparent inclination towards covering up sleaze in the polity is already pitching the institution of the Senate against Nigerians who are demanding 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.”

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