House of Senate: Fresh Crises As Northern Senators Clash With Akpabio Over Alleged Budget Padding*

*House of Senate: Fresh Crises As Northern Senators Clash With Akpabio*

The northern senators have accused Mr Akpabio alongside his cronies of smuggled N4 trillion worth of self-enrichment projects into the budget.

Senators from Northern part of the country under the aegis of Northern Senators Forum (NSF) have accused the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, over alleged padding of the 2024 budget with about N4 trillion worth of self-enriched projects.

Abdul Ningi, (PDD, Bauch) who’s the epresentatives of the 58-member Forum confronted Mr Akpabio at a meeting on Thursday in the latter’s Guest House located in the Maitama District of Abuja.

Apart from Mr Akpabio who present at the tension-soaked meeting, other members of the Senate leadership that also attended were his deputy, Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano), and Chief Whip, Ali Ndume (APC, Borno).

Obscuring information from the source revealed that Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Adeola Olamilekan (APC, Ogun), was in attendance.

During the meeting conveyed at the instance of the Forum, it was gathered that the northern senators accused the senate president of inserting projects worth N4 trillion in the 2024 budget.

The aggrieved senator alleged Akpabio that the projects, which could not only be traced but also not budgeted for, were discreetly inserted into the budget.

The NSF also asserted that the budget was lopsided to the detriment of Northerners and some parts of the South.

Thenewskingdom representative also gathered that aggrieved northern senators pointed an accused fingers on Mr Akpabio of railroading the senators to hurriedly pass “the most fraudulent budget in the history of Nigeria”.

These Senators insisted at the meeting that after clinically scrutinising the budget, they came to realise that the dubious action was “self-serving in favour of Mr Akpabio and his cronies”.

According to the source, thenewskingdom heard Mr Akpabio could not defend the allegation but claimed that the suspected projects were probably inserted into the budget by not-yet-identify persons when he (Akpabio) was hospitalised during the budgetary process.

One senator who pleaded anonymity said Mr Akpabio could not defend the allegation when confronted. Instead, he claimed he didn’t know how the suspected projects were inserted. Mr President insisted that the dubious action must have been taken when he was hospitalised.

The information reached thenewskingdom stated that the senate president, who claimed ignorance of the insertions, asked Mr Ndume if he knew anything about it but the latter said he was not aware.

Mr Akpabio assured the senators, before the meeting ended, that he would look into their grievances.

Before the lawmakers dispersed, senate president was asked to “make amends. Another source revealed.

Meanwhile, some senators who attended the meeting said they were surprised that hours after meeting the senate president, some lawmakers loyal to him began to mobilise southern senators to counter the move of their northern colleagues.

In addition, just few days ago, the northern senators had met in an undisclosed location, unanimously agreed to confront Mr Akpabio in the last Thursday 7 March.

According to the source, Northern Senators Forum chair speaks;
It was learnt that Mr Akpabio’s move to mobilise southern senators may have informed Mr Ningi’s interview with the BBC Hausa Service where he claimed that there were two federal budgets in operation.

He said, “For the last three months, we have employed private financial auditors to extensively examine the 2024 budget. We have uncovered significant unauthorized changes and additions in the budget that would have a widespread negative impact on the nation as a whole”.

“We are supposed to meet with the senate president and show him the irregularities we saw in the budget and let him know our concerns. we will not agree and support spending money on what we are not aware of. Because apart from the budget National Assembly passed, some people went behind our back and prepared another budget we are not aware of. There were inclusions we don’t know about, but our experts are still working on it”.

“Example, we had a budget of N28 trillion but after our thorough checks we found out that it was a budget of N25 trillion. How and where did we get the additional N3 trillion from, what are we spending it for?”.

“And there are many other issues we have discovered. We are going to meet with the president and show him, we will ask him if he is aware of all these things that are happening. We will show him and ask him if he is aware of it, and what he intends to do to those who partake in the whole manipulations and inclusions.”

When thenewskingdom representative contacted Mr Akpabio’s spokesperson, Eseme Eyiboh, he said he was attending a seminar and requested a text message. He has yet to respond to the message as of the time of filing this report.

Yemi Adaramodu who the Senate spokesperson could not be reached as his telephone line did not connect.


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