Budget Padding: Attacks on Akpabio Misguided- NFW


…alleges plot to destabilise Tinubu’s administration

A group, Northern Frontier Watch (NFW), has said media attacks on the Senate and it’s leadership following allegation of budget padding against the Senate by the now suspended Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi are targeted at disparaging the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Recall that the Senate has been embroiled in allegations of budget padding following the revelation of Senator Abdul Ningi that the sum of N3.7 trillion in the budget was not tied to any project and that the President was operating a two-faced budget that favoured the southern part of the country against the northern region.

Addressing a press conference at Arewa House Kaduna to state their position in the ongoing fiasco, the National Coordinator of NFW, Alhaji Usman Shehu faulted those casting aspersions on the Senate and described them as a flock of misled and misdirected individuals without any idea about the passage of budgets and the role of the National Assembly.

According to the press text, “the National Assembly has done nothing wrong as far as the 2024 budget is concerned. The budget went through the normal due process with all Senators in attendance. There was no violation of any of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is however, not possible that the National Assembly will approve exactly what has been submitted to it as many Nigerians have been misled to think.

“Since 1999, it has been customary for the National Assembly to include new line items in the Appropriation Bill to fund specific projects in their constituencies or take out some items that are not in the interest of Nigerians. Either ways, there is an increase or reduction in the amounts initially budgeted. Those questioning this open practice are simply stirring the hornets nest with sinister motives”.

The group further dissociated the North from the needless outbursts of Senator Ningi, stating that the allegations raised were his personal opinions howbeit misinformed hence his inability to openly defend same on the floor of the Senate. “All discernible citizens can now clearly see that Senator Ningi’s misinformed allegations were his personal opinion and not the collective stand of the Northern Senators Forum. He could not defend same on the floor of the Senate when given an opportunity. He has owned up to his shortcoming and admitted same as his personal opinion even though wrong. It is therefore glaringly evident that other unpatriotic factors might have informed his views. The Senate is a unified institution that stands at the forefront of promoting national unity, we will therefore not fold our arms and watch some Individuals foment crisis in the name of the North”.

The press text equally exposed those clandestinely scheming to denigrate the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu by appearing to be attacking the Senate President and questioning his role in the budget padding saga as well as the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi.

“The attacks on the Senate President are actually a decoy to embarrass, denigrate and discredit the current administration. From plotting artificial forex crisis to staged-managed abductions, the camp of the enemy is determined and relentless to subvert the adminstration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu but they will not succeed”, the statement noted.

The press conference ended by calling on all security agencies to “clamp down heavily and mercilessly on anybody or group of persons trying to foment trouble under any guise including the self-serving, sanctimonious banner of fighting for the North”.

NFW, which is a front line civil society organisation in northern Nigeria has been relentless in monitoring and appraising policies and political developments that affect Northern Nigeria since the return of democratic rule in 1999.