BREAKING NEWS: Alleged budget padding: Arewa Initiative tackles ACF over position on Ningi

Alleged budget padding: ACF condemns Ningi’s suspension, says North’s interest at stake

Alleged budget padding: Arewa Initiative tackles ACF over position on Ningi


The Arewa Initiative for the Defence and Promotion of Democracy (AIDPD) has criticised the position of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on the suspension of ex-Chairman of the Northern Senators Forum (NSF), Abdul Ningi, over the budget padding controversy.

A press statement on Monday by the spokesperson, Tasiu Haruna, advised the ACF not to align with the Peoples Democratic Party () but remain “an umbrella association of all northerners.”

The ACF had condemned the 's suspension of Senator Ningi (PDP – Bauchi Central) over his allegation on the BBC Hausa Service that the 2024 budget was padded to the tune of N3.7 trillion.

During the investigation last Tuesday, lawmakers, including the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Solomon Olamilekan, explained that the amount Ningi quoted was for agencies under the first-line charge.

Addressing the ACF, Haruna said Northern stakeholders were miffed and worried over the claim that the budget was skewed in favour of the Southern part of , accusing Ningi of a script.

“His inability to counter the claims by Senate Committee Chairman on Appropriation that the was budgetary provisions for the (INEC), National Judicial Council (NJC), Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund), National Assembly, Public Complaints Commission, North East Development Commission (NEDC), and other enterprises, deflated his allegation and should have laid to rest the controversy.

“We were shocked and disappointed when the spokesman of the ACF, Prof. Tukur Baba issued a press statement on the matter. Unfortunately, the forum condscended this low to allow itself to be used for a partisan agenda,” he noted.

The Arewa Initiative further advised the ACF to invite the five key personalities in the making of the country's budget for a thorough explanation of the matter.

“The minister, the chairman of the committee, and the vice chairman of the Senate committee are from the North, while the South has the chairman of the Senate and the vice chairman of the House.

“We expect the ACF to invite the three northerners to speak on the matter before jumping to a conclusion. This is ridiculously bad for our beloved region. The ACF should not be seen to be in an unholy romance with the PDP but an umbrella association of all northerners.

“The minister, Atiku Bagudu, a northerner, faulted the allegation and described it as baseless and false. The ACF decided not to take his assertion. Rather, it backed Ningi. This is unbecoming of a group that is supposed to be fair-minded in dealing with all northerners and indeed ,” Haruna added.

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