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Budget Padding: SERAP Calls For Reinstatement Of Ningi, Seeks EFCC, ICPC Intervention

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, has been urged by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to reinstate the suspended Senator representing Bauchi Centre, Sen. Abdul Bichi over alleged N3.7 trillion padding in the 2024 budget.

This is as the group called on the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio to refer the lawmaker to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for investigation and prosecution.

Additionally, in response to Senator Ningi’s accusations that lawmakers inflated the 2024 budget by erratically adding projects totaling N3.7 trillion, SERAP urged Akpabio to immediately restore Ningi.

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The organisation believes that in the upcoming budget cycle, the Senate needs to publicly pledge to stop funding the obviously illegal constituency initiatives.

This was stated in a letter dated Saturday and signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, the deputy director of SERAP.

The statement partly reads, “Referring the allegations to appropriate anticorruption agencies would be consistent with the lawmakers’ oath of office and the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution 1999.

“Referring the allegations to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would improve public trust in the ability of the leadership of the Senate to ensure probity and accountability in the budget process.

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel you and the Senate to comply with our requests in the public interest.”

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