“Further Disputes Arise Regarding N3.7 Trillion Gap in 2024 Budget”

Senator Jimoh Ibrahim has called on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to open up its ticket for the upcoming 2024 Ondo State Governorship Election. He stated that he is not afraid of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa. This request from Senator Ibrahim adds to the ongoing discussions about the 2024 budget. Recent reports indicate that portions of the budget linked to certain federal government institutions lack transparency and detailed information.These concerns were highlighted by BudgiT, a group focused on fiscal policy analysis and advocacy. Co-founder Seun Onigbinde supported Senator Abdul Ningi’s observations about the lack of transparency in the 2024 Appropriation Act. Meanwhile, the Senate Minority Leader, Abba Moro, expressed worry about the Senate’s credibility after Senator Ningi was suspended for raising budget padding allegations.Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State also voiced support for Senator Ningi, labeling the suspension as an attack on freedom of expression. Additionally, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi, urged the Senate to address the allegations surrounding the N3 trillion padding in the 2024 budget.Onigbinde emphasized the need for detailed breakdowns in the budget, especially regarding funds allocated to government-owned enterprises like INEC. He clarified that the total capital projects in the 2024 Appropriation Act amounted to around N9 trillion.Senator Moro defended the Senate’s action against Ningi, citing the need to address budget padding. However, he acknowledged concerns about the Senate’s credibility.Governor Mohammed supported Senator Ningi, highlighting the importance of truth in opposition voices. He criticized the Senate’s suspension of Ningi, emphasizing the need for transparency and accountability in budget allocations.Mr. Peter Obi called on the Senate to clarify the allegations regarding the N3 trillion padding. He stressed the importance of using public funds for critical areas like education and health.Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Transparency International in Nigeria (TI-Nigeria) condemned Senator Ningi’s suspension, labeling it an attack on freedom of expression. They emphasized the importance of protecting democratic values and urged against silencing opposition in the National Assembly.The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demanded Senate President Godswill Akpabio to step aside for an independent investigation into the alleged N3.7 trillion discreetly inserted into the 2024 budget. They also called for Akpabio to address the reported N86 billion contract scam during his tenure as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.In summary, these recent events highlight the ongoing debates and concerns surrounding the transparency and accountability of the 2024 budget, with various voices calling for clarity, accountability, and protection of democratic values.

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