Serap and Northern Leaders call for padding allegations to be investigated


The Arewa Consultative Forum, a pan-northern socio-political body, denounced Senator Abdul Ningi’s suspension on Saturday for allegedly padding the 2024 budget by N3.7 trillion.In a previous interview, Ningi made the claim that led to his three-month suspension for what the Senate called an unjustified charge.However, the pan-northern association expressed sadness that, rather than suspending the senator from Bauchi North, the red chamber should have allowed for an independent inquiry into the incident.


The ACF stated that rather than suspending Ningi right away, it wanted a Senate committee—either statutory or ad hoc—to thoroughly investigate the accusation.


The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has also weighed in, urging Senate President Godswill Akpabio to “urgently refer the allegations that lawmakers padded the 2024 budget by irregularly inserting projects worth N3.7 trillion into appropriate anti-corruption agencies for investigation and prosecution.”.


SERAP issued an ultimatum to him “to immediately reinstate whistleblower Abdul Ningi, who was recently suspended from the Senate over his allegations that the lawmakers padded the 2024 budget by irregularly inserting projects worth N3.7 trillion.”The organisation also asked him “to make a public commitment to discontinue the patently unlawful constituency projects in the next budget cycle.”In a letter dated March 16, 2024, signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation stated: “Referring these allegations to appropriate anti corruption agencies would be consistent with the lawmakers’ oath of office and the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended].”SERAP stated, “What Senator Ningi has done is a positive act of good citizenship.” No whistleblower should ever face repercussions solely for making a public-interest revelation.

By Nnaemeka Odenigbo

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