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Budget Padding: Aftermath of Ningi’s threat, senate set to recall him

This decision comes in response to Ningi's assertion that the 2024 budget was purportedly inflated by N3.7 trillion...


Budget Padding: Aftermath of Ningi’s threat, senate set to recall him

The Senate is gearing up to rescind the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP – Bauchi Central) after a three-month hiatus, Senate President Godswill Akpabio revealed.

This decision comes in response to Ningi’s assertion that the 2024 budget was purportedly inflated by N3.7 trillion.

Akpabio, speaking to journalists upon his return from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, stated that the Senate would review Ningi’s suspension soon.

READ ALSO: Budget padding: Senator Ningi writes Akpabio, seeks reinstatement within a week

Ningi had issued a letter through his legal representative, Femi Falana SAN, giving Akpabio seven days to revoke the suspension or face legal action.

While Akpabio acknowledged that he hadn’t seen the letter, he assured that the matter was receiving due consideration.

He emphasized that the Senate views Ningi as part of its family and expressed optimism that the issue would be resolved amicably, allowing Ningi to resume his duties sooner than anticipated.

Akpabio emphasized, “It is a parliamentary decision… The Senate is a family.”

Neptune Prime recalls that earlier in an interview with the BBC, Senator Ningi disclosed that projects amounting to N3.7 trillion remained unaccounted for in the 2024 budget.

This revelation triggered widespread public concern and scrutiny of lawmakers’ conduct. In response, Akpabio expressed his dismay over Ningi’s allegations, asserting that the Senate’s integrity had been tarnished, potentially eroding public trust in the institution.

Following a plenary interrogation, Ningi faced accusations of mischief and received a three-month suspension.

However, in a letter conveyed through his legal representative, Femi Falana, Ningi contested the constitutionality and legality of his suspension. He criticised Akpabio, labeling him as both the accuser and judge in the matter. Ningi demanded the revocation of his suspension within a seven-day ultimatum, threatening to seek redress through the Federal High Court if his suspension remained unlifted.

Ningi argued that his suspension violated his right to a fair hearing as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. Moreover, he emphasized the broader implications of his suspension, asserting that it deprived the constituents of the Bauchi Central Senatorial District of their representation in the Senate for three months, contravening constitutional provisions.

Drawing parallels with previous legal precedents, Ningi highlighted instances where the courts had deemed the suspension of legislators illegal and unconstitutional.

He urged Akpabio to acknowledge these judicial decisions and emphasized that no parliamentary body in Nigeria possessed the authority to suspend or expel a legislator.

In conclusion, Ningi called for the immediate lifting of his suspension and warned of legal repercussions if his demands were not met within the stipulated timeframe.

He also threatened to report Akpabio to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for disregarding judicial rulings and flouting legal standards.

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