‘I stand with Ningi’, Bauchi Governor declares firm support for suspended Ningi amid controversy

Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has declared his unwavering backing for Senator Abdul Ningi, who was recently suspended by the Senate for a three-month period.

Senator Ningi, who represents Bauchi Central, faced suspension on Tuesday and subsequently resigned as Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum.

His suspension came in the wake of a parliamentary discussion regarding remarks made during a BBC interview, where he alleged that the National Assembly inflated the 2024 N28.7tn budget.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Population, Abdul Ningi
Senator Abdul Ningi

In the interview on Friday, Ningi claimed that N3.7tn was not allocated to specific projects in the 2024 budget.

He stated, “for the first time in Nigerian history, today we are operating two different budgets. One budget was approved by the National Assembly and signed by President Bola Tinubu and the one was implemented by the presidency.

“The one approved by us is N25tn, while the one operating by the Federal Government is N28tn.

“Apparently, we discovered N3tn was inserted into the budget for projects without locations. This is the highest budget padding that happened in Nigerian history under Senator Akpabio’s watch.”

Furthermore, during a press briefing on Monday, the senator reiterated the accusation and expressed no fear of being suspended.

The Bauchi State Governor, however, expressed his support for the lawmaker.

“In today’s State Executive Council meeting, I made it clear that I stand firm in our support for Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi, of Bauchi Central,” Mohammed wrote on his official X account on Monday.

He added, “I emphasised the importance of preserving dissent within our political landscape without resorting to punitive actions.

“I am committed to examining Senator Ningi’s situation further. It is common knowledge that Senator Ningi is one of the best-performing senators whose heritage and uprightness, ancestry and integrity are worthy of praise.”

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele from Ekiti Central faulted Ningi’s claims that the 2024 budget passed by the Senate was padded, calling it a “civilian coup.”

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A member of the Appropriation Committee in the Senate, Jimoh Ibrahim, initiated the motion to suspend Ningi for 12 months due to allegations of criminal misinformation and breach of peace in the National Assembly and the country at large.

On the other hand, Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong and Senator Abdulfatai Buhari proposed amendments to the motion by Ibrahim.

Ekpenyong, representing Cross River South Senatorial District, suggested reducing the suspension to six months, while Buhari from Oyo North proposed three months.

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, described Ningi’s offences as “grievous.”

A voice vote was conducted, and a majority of the lawmakers voted in support of Ningi’s suspension for three months.

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