Presidency slams senator for budget padding claim

The Presidency has knocked the Bauchi Central Senator Abdul Ningi over his claim that Budget 2024 was padded with N3 trillion and screwed against the North.

The Presidency described the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator’s claims as false, “too far-fetched and unbecoming of a leader of his status”.

A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu forwarded an evenly distributed budget, in which none of the six geo-political zones is marginalised.

Three senators – Steve Sunday Karimi (Kogi West), Titus Tartenger Zam (Benue Northwest) and Kaka Sheu (Borno Central) – also rejected Ningi’s claims, which they described as a ruse, unfounded, baseless and a figment of his imagination.

They dissociated themselves from it. The senators are members of the Northern Senators’ Forum, under whose auspices Ningi allegedly spoke.

They warned against what they described as the antics of blackmailers bent on creating an atmosphere of crisis in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly.

Ningi alleged in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service at the weekend that the 2024 Budget being executed had been padded to the tune of N3 trillion and skewed against the interest of the North.

He alleged that the report of a consultant revealed the padding.

The statement by the Presidency said: “On the uncharitable claim that the 2024 budget was anti-North, we found such position as canvassed by Senator Ningi as too far-fetched and unbecoming of a leader of his status.

“Following the false claims made by Senator Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi Central, that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Federal Government is operating two versions of the 2024 Budget, we consider it appropriate to inform Nigerians that there is no truth whatsoever in the allegation.

“Acting under the banner of Northern Senators’ Forum, Senator Ningi falsely claimed in an interview he granted BBC Hausa Service that the National Assembly debated and passed N25 trillion as 2024 budget and not the N28.7 trillion that is being implemented by the Federal Government.

“To begin with, President Tinubu on November 29, 2023 presented a budget of N27.5 Trillion to the joint session of the National Assembly made up of N9.92 Trillion recurrent expenditure, Debt Service N8.25 Trillion and Capital Expenditure N8.7 Trillion.

“This was widely reported. He did not present a budget of N25 trillion.”



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