Budget padding controversy: ACF knocks Senate for suspending Ningi

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Pan-northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum, on Saturday, condemned the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi over the alleged padding of the 2024 budget to the tune of N3.7tn by the Senate.

 

Ningi had in an earlier interview made the allegation that culminated in his three-month suspension for what the Senate labelled an unfounded allegation.

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However, the pan-northern organisation noted with regret that rather than suspending the Senator representing Bauchi North, the red chamber should have allowed an independent investigation into the matter.

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The ACF, through its National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Tukur-Baba, in a statement in Kaduna, said the process which culminated in Ningi’s suspension appeared rushed “looking more on the messenger rather than his message.”

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According to the forum, with the suspension of Ningi, who had served as the leader of the Northern Senators Forum, the interests of many communities in the region are at stake.

 

The ACF noted that rather than taking a rushed suspension of Ningi, it preferred a thorough investigation of the allegation by a statutory or ad hoc committee of the Senate.

 

The statement was titled, ‘ACF regrets suspension of Senator Ningi from 10th Senate, calls for more open debates on issues.’

It read in parts, “The Arewa Consultative Forum has watched with keen interest the series of rather dramatic events, in the Nigerian 10th Senate, which culminated in the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi from the Red Chamber for three months.

 

“ACF acknowledges the 10th Senate’s constitutional privilege to determine how it operates or conducts its affairs.

 

“ACF does not wish to engage in debate with the Senate. Still, on the whole, the process appeared nimbly rushed, with concerns looking more at the messenger rather than his message.

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“ACF notes that the allegation has since been denied by the 10th Senate as lacking in veracity. However, the interests of many communities in Northern Nigeria are at stake.

 

“Rather than the route of a rushed suspension of Senator Ningi, ACF prefers a thorough investigation of the allegation by some statutory or ad hoc committee of the Senate.

 

“ACF regrets that Bauchi Central will be without representation in the 10th Senate for the 3 months, and stands with Senator Ningi and his supporters in whatever constitutional means they seek to respond for a satisfactory denouement to this sad development.

 

“ACF also calls on the 10th Senate to act with more circumspection and sensitivity in processing criticism of its operations. Robust debates on public policy issues undoubtedly strengthen the development of the democratic project.”

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