Budget Padding: President Tinubu Advised To Review 2024 Budget

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to restore the integrity of the 2024 budget by immediately ordering an open investigation into the alleged insertion as well as a holistic review of the budget.

A statement issued by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said that the PDP stands by its demand that Senator Akpabio should report at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation into the alleged looting of N108 billion belonging to the people of Akwa Ibom State and the N86 billion alleged contract scam under his watch as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, respectively.

The party also slammed the Senator Godswill Akpabio-led All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership in the Senate for seeking to use diversionary press statements to suppress the demand for an open investigation into the alleged improper insertion of N3.7 trillion for non-existing projects in the 2024 budget.

“The PDP asserts that from the incoherent, knee-jerk and dismissive statement issued by the APC leadership in the Senate on Thursday, March 14, 2024, it is clear that it is jittery that an open and detailed investigation into the allegation will further expose the perpetrators and how money was allegedly shared among APC lawmakers,” the party alleged.

It noted that the press statement further confirmed the presence of an APC budget cabal in the Senate and that the Senator Akpabio-led APC leadership is insensitive and does not care about the welfare of the Nigerian people.

“It is highly provocative that at this time when Nigerians are passing through severe economic hardship, the APC leadership in the Senate is busy defending and frustrating investigation into allegations of massive manipulation and looting of resources meant for the wellbeing of the citizens,” the statement explained.

It said that the Akpabio-led APC leadership in the Senate ought to know that no amount of threats, harassment, suspension of whistleblowers and attempts to blackmail the opposition through diversionary press statements and sponsored articles in a section of the media can suppress the demand for an open investigation into the alleged budget padding which is already in the public domain.

The statement explained that the PDP and Nigerians are not deterred by attacks by the APC leadership in the Senate, that is a clear case of corruption fighting back in the face of public scrutiny.

More importantly, the statement said that the failure by the Akpabio-led APC leadership to allow for an investigation into the budget padding allegation constitutes a huge smear on the image of the Senate and destroys its rectitude and integrity to perform its constitutional duty to investigate and oversight other public institutions; a situation that spells doom to our constitutional democracy if not immediately checked.

If Senator Akpabio has nothing to fear, the statement observed, he should immediately recall Senator Abdul Ningi and allow for an open and detailed investigation into the allegation of discrete insertion of N3.7 trillion into the 2024 budget.

The statement said, “Our Party, standing shoulder to shoulder with Nigerians, insists that Senator Akpabio should step aside and allow for a credible investigation, as he cannot be a judge in this matter.”

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By Abia ThinkTank

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