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JUST IN: Northern Govs, Other Stakeholders Call For Removal Of Akpabio As Senate President

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Northern governors and some other stakeholders are pressurising President Bola Tinubu to ensure the removal of Senate President Godswill Akpabio or face dire political consequences.

It was gathered that the suspension of Ningi was heating the political scene, which had started to get to President Tinubu.

Top sources in the National Assembly told SaharaReporters that the heat generated by the budget padding controversy had gone beyond what was anticipated by Senate President Akpabio.

“The suspension of Senator Ningi is heating the Nigerian political scene beyond what Akpabio anticipated. The heat is getting to President Tinubu.

“President Tinubu is unhappy about what Akpabio and his group did in the National Assembly. Northern governors are pressuring Tinubu to remove Akpabio or face a civil war,” a source told SaharaReporters.

Senator Ningi representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), recently alleged that the 2024 budget had been padded up to the tune of ₦3.7 trillion.

The lawmaker alleged that the Senate leadership padded the budget currently being implemented instead of the one passed by the National Assembly.

The allegation generated public outrage but the lawmaker however insisted that N3.7 trillion could not be accounted for in the 2024 budget.

He alleged that there were two budgets in circulation and that the one currently being implemented was not the one passed by the National Assembly.

Ningi in a BBC Hausa Service interview alleged that President Tinubu’s government was executing a budget significantly higher than what was passed by the National Assembly.

He insisted that the N25 trillion budget was debated and passed, not the N28.7 trillion that was being implemented.

However, the Presidency through a statement issued by Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, had described Senator Ningi’s claims as false.

Onanuga insisted that President Tinubu never presented a budget of N25 trillion on November 29, 2023, but 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.

Recall that the lawmaker representing Cross River North Senatorial District, Senator Agom Jarigbe, revealed that some senior senators received N500 million each from the budget.

Senator Jarigbe made the revelation on the floor of the Senate last Tuesday amid controversy following budget padding allegations made by Senator Ningi.

Many Nigerians have slammed the leadership of Senate President Godswill Akpabio for the alleged fraud.

Following a rowdy session on Tuesday, the Senate suspended Senator Ningi for three months over the budget padding allegation.

Shortly after Ningi’s suspension, President Tinubu met with Senate President Godswill Akpabio, Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau and some other lawmakers behind closed doors at the State House.

Meanwhile, a civic group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has vowed to take legal action against the Senate over Ningi’s suspension.

Also, it was learnt that the North has asked President Tinubu to make Akpabio divert part of the controversial N3.7 trillion to projects in the region, to balance the alleged lopsidedness.

Amid all this, it was learnt that Tinubu had issued an ultimatum to Akpabio to reinstate the suspended Senator Ningi.

“One of the things the North is demanding from Tinubu is to make Akpabio move some of the N3.7 trillion added to the budget to projects that will benefit the North as a way of balancing the lopsided budget.

“Tinubu, on his part, has given Akpabio an ultimatum to reinstate Senator Ningi,” one of the sources said.

“Meanwhile, Akpabio is heading to Lagos today with his group of senators to meet with senior editors. The plan is to ‘see’ the editors and get them to start writing positive stories about the Senate,” a source said.
It was reported last week that the Nigerian government had approved the sum of N2.5 billion for Akpabio to procure deep freezers, generators and other items as empowerment projects for the people of his constituency.

A screenshot of the budget shared by a popular social media critic, Mahdi Shehu on X revealed that the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs inserted five different empowerment projects for the people of Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District at the sum of N500 million each.

“N2.5BILLION APPROVED FOR AKPABIO TO BUY DEEP FREEZERS FOR HIS CONSTITUENCY: Wonders shall never end. Anyway, with Akpabio, anything and everything is possible, considering his past records, how he emerged as Senate president without being a candidate in an election. Disgusting,” Mahdi captioned the screenshot.

“EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN WITH DEEP FREEZERS, GENERATORS AND OTHER EMPOWERMENT ITEMS TO BOOST THEIR DAILY EARNING IN THE TWO (2) LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF NORTH WEST SENATORIAL DISTRICT AT 250M EACH (IΚΟΝΟ & ABAK),” one of the projects reads.


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