Budget Padding: “I am not afraid of suspension” – Senator Ningi defies Senate

Sharon EboesomiMarch 11, 20244 min

Senator Ningi revealed that the interview he had with the BBC was personal and not for the Northern Senators Forum.

“I am not afraid of suspension by the Senate, it will be an honour”- Senator Ningi

Senators have begun to go against each other following allegations of a N3 trillion padding to the 2024 budget.

Trouble began when Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi Central) made claims that the 2024 budget was padded with the sum of N3trn.

Following these allegations, several Senators came out to deny these claims.

READ ALSO: Budget Padding: Presidency carpets Senator, says budget not padded

However, responding to the backlash from his colleagues, Ningi who is the chairman of the Northern Senators Forum said he is not afraid of whatever the consequences might be for his actions.

Ningi who made this declaration while speaking to journalists on Monday said, “I am not afraid of anything, I believe in one God, I believe what we are doing is temporal. I am not scared of whatever you hear, I am not scared of whatever issues like suspension. I’ve been out of the Senate for 8 years and people had to force me back, it’s not an issue.

“If because I said what I said I will be suspended, then so be it. It will be an honour.”

According to Ningi, most of the commentators through social media thought that he was speaking for and on behalf of the Northern Senators.

He said, “I don’t speak for or on behalf of the Northern Senators unless I have been told to do so.

“The interview I had with the BBC was never an interview for the Northern Senators Forum, it was an interview for myself. I don’t want people to castigate them, I want people to castigate me as a leader. I want to make sure that whatever happens, let it happen to me and that is why I said, “Shut my phones, let me address the press first.”

Speaking further on the padding of the budget, Ningi who said that he was misquoted, claimed that he never mentioned that President Bola Tinubu was running two budgets, he however maintained that there was a N3.7trn inserted into the 2024 Appropriation Bill.

“We are yet to ascertain N3trn of that budget, we have established N3trn in that budget but we have not established its location and the place.”

On the issue of the Northern Senators Forum’s intention to take their findings to the President, Ningi said, “If one is questioning our desire to relate with Bola Tinubu, how will I say that the findings of the Northern Senators Forum will go the Senate President and then to Bola Tinubu.

“They tried to narrow me down as a regional person. I have never acted as a regional person, I have never spoken as a regional person. I am a very proud Northerner, but that does not mean I see Nigeria from a political zone, ethnicity, party or religious divide.

“I have never made any issues and you can see various ad hoc committees I have headed,” he added.

“Everything you heard in my Hausa interview has to do with my personality.

“The Hausa version of the interview is here with me and unfortunately those who carried the story to Bio did it with the sole aim of tarnishing my image and calling me a liar,” he added.

Sharon Eboesomi

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