Ningi gives Akpabio seven-day ultimatum to lift his suspension 

Sharon EboesomiMarch 28, 20245 min

Ningi through his lawyer, Femi Falana warned that if the suspension is not lifted in the next seven days he would drag the Senate before the Federal High Court.

Ningi gives Akpabio seven-day ultimatum to lift his suspension 
Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi (PDP, Bauchi Central), has given an ultimatum to the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, demanding that he lift the suspension placed on him.

This was disclosed in a letter dated 27th March 2024, through Ningi’s lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), who warned that if the suspension was not lifted in the next seven days he would drag the Senate before the Federal High Court.

The letter read, “On March 9, 2024, our client granted an interview to the BBC Hausa Service on the 2024 Appropriation Act. He expressed his views on the budget of the Federal Government in the exercise of his fundamental right to freedom of speech guaranteed by Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“Dissatisfied with the interview, you caused our client to be put on trial before the Senate on March 14, 2024 contrary to the provisions of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, 2018.

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 budget padding, corruption or abuse of office.

“Specifically, the court declared the suspension of the affected legislators illegal and unconstitutional.

“As a senior lawyer, you (Akpabio) ought to have drawn the attention of the members of the Senate to these decisions and several others where the high courts of some states and the Court of Appeal have held that no parliament in Nigeria has the power to suspend or expel a legislator and confiscate his salaries and allowances.

“In view of the foregoing, you will agree with us that the suspension of Senator Ningi and the denial of his entitlements are illegal and unconstitutional in every material particular.

“We are compelled to request you to ensure that the said suspension is lifted forthwith.

“However, if you fail to accede to our request seven days upon receipt of this letter, we shall not hesitate to pray the Federal High Court for the reinstatement of our client. We shall equally report you to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for treating the judgments of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal with disdain.”

The budget padding allegation 

On March 12, 2024, the Senate suspended Ningi for three months due to his allegations that the 2024 budget was padded by N3.7 trillion.

Ningi, during an interview with BBC Hausa, claimed that although the National Assembly had approved a N25 trillion budget for the 2024 fiscal year, the President was implementing a N28.7 trillion budget.

Following these allegations, the Northern Senators Forum (NSF), refuted claims made by Ningi and expressed strong disapproval of his actions, which they described as “grossly unparliamentary.”

Responding to the backlash from his colleagues, Ningi said he is not afraid of whatever the consequences might be for his actions.

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

Ningi who made this declaration while speaking to journalists days before his suspension 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.”

Barely 48 hours after his suspension, he stepped down from his position as the Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum and was immediately replaced by Senator Abdulaziz Yar’Adua (APC, Katsina Central).

Sharon Eboesomi

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