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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Presidency refutes allegations of budget padding, denounces senator’s claims

Accusations of Budget Padding Prompt Denial and Senate Scrutiny in Nigeria

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Amidst a wave of allegations surrounding Nigeria’s 2024 budget, the Presidency has vehemently denied accusations of padding, dismissing claims by Senator Abdul Ningi and stressing the integrity of the budgetary process.

Senator Ningi, representing Bauchi Central under the Northern Senators’ Forum, raised concerns over a purported N3tn addition to the approved budget, sparking a contentious debate within the Senate and beyond.

In response to Ningi’s assertions, the Presidency, represented by Special Adviser Bayo Onanuga, refuted the claims, asserting that President Bola Tinubu had initially proposed a N27.5tn budget to the National Assembly, not the alleged N25tn debated by Ningi.

Contradicting Ningi’s assertions, the Presidency clarified that the budget eventually signed into law on January 1, 2024, amounted to N28.7tn, inclusive of statutory transfers and appropriations passed by the National Assembly.

Onanuga criticized Ningi’s allegations as lacking a factual basis and raised concerns over the potential divisive impact of such claims in a time where unity and cohesion are paramount.

Moreover, the Presidency dismissed assertions that the 2024 budget was anti-Northern, emphasizing equitable distribution of resources and prioritizing national development across all regions.

The statement also expressed gratitude to Senator Yemi Adaramodu for clarifying the facts and commended Senators Karimi, Zam, and Sheu for their stance against misrepresentation.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that some senators are considering calls for Ningi’s suspension, citing concerns over the damaging impact of his claims on the Senate’s reputation and public trust.

In response to mounting pressure, the Senate, through its spokesperson, Senator Yemi Adaramodu, categorically denied any budget padding, underscoring the importance of transparency and accountability in the budgetary process.

As the controversy unfolds, Nigeria grapples with the challenge of maintaining public confidence in governance amidst allegations of financial impropriety and political discord.

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