Alleged N3.7Trn Budget Padding, Others: Step Aside – PDP Tells Akpabio

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…Says, it stands with Senator Ningi 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded the immediate stepping aside of the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio to allow for an independent investigation into the allegation that a staggering N3.7 trillion was discreetly inserted into the 2024 budget for alleged non-existent projects.

This was as the Party described the suspension of Senator Ningi over the allegation of N3.7Trillion 2024 Budget padding as apparently a desperate move to suppress investigation, conceal and sweep the facts under the carpet.

The Party also demanded that Senator Akpabio should also report at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the pending case of alleged looting of N108 billion belonging to the people of Akwa Ibom State under his watch as Governor of the State.

The PDP said that the apparent inclination towards covering up sleaze in the polity is already pitching the institution of the Senate against Nigerians who are demanding for answers on the matter.

It specifically said that the widely condemned suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi does not provide answers to the budget padding allegation thus, challenged Akpabio to speak out on the reported N86 billion contract scam in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) during his tenure as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.

These were contained in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Hon Debo Ologunagba in which the Party firmly condemned the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi by the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership in the Senate without a detailed inquest into the issue of budget padding which he raised.

The opposition party noted that the frustration of investigation by the APC Senate leadership further confirmed its (PDP) repeated alert that prominent APC officials in the National Assembly and a top official in the Presidency have been using ministers and other government functionaries to siphon budgeted funds from the national coffers.

The PDP further said; “We ask, why did the APC leadership in the Senate not refer the matter to the appropriate Senate Standing Committee for an open investigation in line with the extant Rules of the Senate? What is the APC Senate leadership afraid of and what is it hiding from Nigerians?

“It is even more absurd that instead of recusing himself, the Senate President sat as a judge in the matter; a situation that has the capacity to bring the institution of the Senate to further public disrepute.

“This is especially as the issues at hand heavily border on alleged gross misconduct and criminal betrayal of public trust which are serious offenses under our laws.

“Nigerians can now see why the APC leadership in the National Assembly, especially in the Senate continues to condone the unbridled looting of public resources including funds meant for palliatives for poor and vulnerable citizens.

“It is indeed unfortunate and a huge smear on the image of the Senate, as the highest law making and probity Institution in the country that its Presiding Officer has found himself in a quagmire of alleged sleaze and betrayal of public trust.

“Our Party therefore stands with Senator Ningi for his courage in seeking probity and accountability in the polity.

“What Nigerians expect at this moment is for the Senate President to come clean by stepping aside, allowing for an independent investigation into the budget padding allegation as well as clearing his name at the EFCC over alleged looting of N108 billion and N86 billion under his watch as Governor of Akwa Ibom State and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs respectively,” PDP insisted.

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