Budget Padding: I did not suspend Ningi, Senate did – Akpabio to Falana

Sharon EboesomiApril 6, 20244 min

Ningi through his lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), previously gave a seven-day ultimatum to Akpabio demanding that he lift the suspension placed on him.

Budget Padding: I did not suspend Ningi, Senate did - Akpabio to Falana
Senate President, Godswill Akpabio

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has publicly clarified that the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi Central) from the Red Chamber was not his decision alone but that of the Senate.

OrderPaper recalls that 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 through his lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), in a letter, gave a seven-day ultimatum to Akpabio demanding that he lift the suspension placed on him.

READ ALSO: Ningi gives Akpabio seven-day ultimatum to lift his suspension 

Akpabio, through his counsel, Umeh Kalu (SAN), in a letter on Thursday, replied to Falana’s saying, “We have carefully read through your analysis of the facts and circumstances leading to your client’s suspension from the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and, are unable to find reason in your verdict of our client’s sole culpability in the said suspension.

“The decision and resolution to suspend Senator Ningi was that of the Senate sitting in plenary and not that of Senator Akpabio.

“In addition to the above and contrary to the contents of your letter under reference, our client was at no time your client’s accuser, prosecutor and judge.

“Our client’s role at the session of the Senate that led to your client’s suspension was and remains the statutory role of a Legislative House Presiding Officer, which role equally includes pronouncing the majority decision of the Legislative House at the end of debate and voting.

“Permit us to mention your attempt at drawing our client’s attention to legal authorities and pronouncements of our courts of record on the unconstitutionality of suspending members of Legislative Houses, which attempt we dare say was unhelpful, due to your failure or refusal to make available the relevant particulars of the said court decisions in your letter.

“You may wish to provide these legal authorities which you have alluded to, bearing in mind that every decision of a Court emanates from its peculiar facts, circumstances and extant Laws.

“In as much as it may not be necessary to canvass herein all the remedies available to our client, in response to your threats of court action and petition to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, LPDC, it is important we mention that rules guide legislative proceedings and that certain privileges ensure to legislators for their actions in the course of legislative sessions.

“Furthermore, our client though a lawyer by profession does not sit and preside over the sessions of the Senate, as a lawyer, or in the discharge of his services as a legal practitioner,” he added.

Sharon Eboesomi

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