Senate Suspends Senator Abdul Ningi for Three Months Over Budget Padding Allegations

In a significant development, the Senate has suspended Senator Abdul Ningi, former Senate Deputy Leader and Chairman of the Northern Senators Forum, for a period of three months. This decision comes in the wake of allegations raised by Ningi regarding budget padding.

The suspension, announced on Tuesday, entails Ningi’s exclusion from participating in any activities of the 10th Senate. However, the Senate has left a window open for Ningi to return if he issues an apology during the suspension period.

The motion for Ningi’s suspension was initiated by Senator Olamilekan Adeola, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, who brought attention to Ningi’s claims of N3 trillion budget padding in the 2024 Appropriation Act. According to Adeola, the discrepancy between the budget passed by the National Assembly and the one being implemented by the Presidency raised serious concerns.

In response to the motion, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim proposed an initial twelve-month suspension for Ningi, which was later amended to a six-month suspension by Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong. Finally, Senator Musa Garba Maidoki suggested a three-month suspension, which was eventually approved by the Senate.

The decision to suspend Ningi follows a tumultuous session in the Senate, where Ningi’s allegations sparked heated debates and disruptions. Ningi had alleged that the National Assembly approved a budget of N25 trillion, while the Presidency implemented a budget of N28.7 trillion, indicating significant discrepancies and possible padding.

Ningi’s remarks during the session further escalated tensions, as he questioned the earnings and expenditures of Senate President Godswill Akpabio, adding to the already charged atmosphere.

Despite Ningi’s claims and the ensuing commotion, the Senate remains focused on addressing the issues raised and ensuring accountability in budgetary processes. The suspension serves as a reminder of the Senate’s commitment to upholding integrity and transparency in governance, even in the face of contentious allegations.

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