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‘Budget padding’: Akpabio bows to pressure, says Ningi will rejoin senate in a few days
 
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Sat, 30 Mar 2024   ||   Nigeria,
 

Godswill Akpabio, senate president, has hinted that the upper legislative chamber may consider lifting the suspension on Abdul Ningi, senator representing Bauchi central.

Akpabio made this known on Friday upon his return to Abuja from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) general assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

Recall that earlier this month, Ningi sparked controversy when he alleged that the 2024 budget was padded by N3 trillion and that the country is operating two budgets concurrently.

Subsequently, the senate debated the matter at the “committee of the whole”.

The senator was thereafter suspended for three months for allegedly not providing evidence to back his allegations.

In a letter dated March 27 and addressed to Akpabio through Femi Falana, his counsel, Ningi gave the senate president a seven-day ultimatum to lift his suspension from the upper legislative chamber.

Ningi described his suspension as “illegal”, saying he would approach a federal high court for his reinstatement if the suspension is not lifted within seven days.

“Apart from violating our client’s fundamental right to a fair hearing, the Senate violated the right of the entire people of the Bauchi Central Senatorial District to representation in the Senate for three months,” the letter reads.

“This is a breach of section 111 of the Constitution and article 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act.

“As you are no doubt aware, the Federal High Court had struck down the suspension of some members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who had accused the leadership of both houses of corruption or abuse of office.”

Speaking on Friday, Akpabio said although he was yet to receive the letter, he believes that Ningi will rejoin the senate in a few days.

“It is a parliamentary decision. I have not seen the letter yet,” Akpabio said.

“But senator Ningi is one of us. I mean what is suspension? I believe that in a few days, he will join us.

“So, there is no problem. It would be resolved amicably. The senate is a family.”

 

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