• Wants probe of alleged N500 bribe to ranking senators

From Paul Orude, Bauchi

Prominent politicians and stakeholders in Bauchi State have demanded for the immediate resignation of the Senate President, Mr Godswill Akpabio, calling for probe into allegation of N500 bribe to some selected ranking senators.

The group, which was reacting to the suspension of Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi over alleged remark of budget padding, insisted that Akpabio should step aside and allow investigation of the allegations in line with the rules of the Senate.

They described the suspension of Ningi, representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, as unlawful and undemocratic, calling for his reinstatement and subsequent removal of the President of the Senate.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, leader of the amalgamation of the Bauchi state concerned groups on the unlawful and undemocratic suspension of Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi, Umar Said Maigamo, opined that they considered the decision to suspend Ningi as premeditated, hasty, unlawful and undemocratic on several grounds.

The group also called on the Senate to immediately withdraw “the illegal and undemocratic suspension of Senator Ningi” and tender an unreserved apology to the senator and the people of Bauchi Central Senatorial District.

“You may wish to recall that Senator Abdul Ningi in an attempt to exercise his legislative and constitution right granted an interview to the BBC Hausa Service where he raised pertinent issues regarding the 2024 budget,” Maigamo said.

“In the said Interview, the senator revealed that there were some anomalies in the budget where he specifically stated that the sum of 3.7 trillion naira could not be traced to any projects or location in the 2024 budget.

“Senator Ningi’s assertion was corroborated by several professional groups including Budget Foundation, a renowned civil society organization promoting accountability and transpiercing in public spending in Nigeria.

“However, in a rare display of Injustice, disdain for the rule of law end democratic tenets, the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio at the plenary held on 12 March, 2024 announced the suspension of Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi for 3 months.

“This followed a motion moved by Senator Solomon Glamiletan Adense representing Ogun West, who alleged that his privilege as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria had been breached by the assertion of Senetor Abdul Ningi concerning the 2024 budget instead of giving Senator Abdul Ningi fair hearing or in the alternative order for forensic analysis of the entire budget, the Senate went ahead to execute its premeditated action

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“We view this action of the Senate as an attempt not only to conceal the truth but to prevent the senator from exercising his legislative duties and constitutional right.

“We wish to draw the attention of all Nigerians, on the diversionary antics by the leadership of the Senate to cover up the mess by turning the issue into North and South dichotomy Specifically, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (Senate Majority Leader), representing B Central stood up on the floor of the Nigerian Senate to proclaim that he was addressing the same Senate as Southern Senator alleging that there was a Northern plot to sabotage and remove Akpabio for no reason other than that he is from the South This shows that Senator Bamidele is a poor student of history This is because several Senate Presidents of southern extraction have been fully supported by Northerners”

“On the contrary, Senator Abdul Ningi being a patriotic, experienced and high ranking legislator than Bamidele and his likes, neither addressed himself as a Northern Senator nor linked the 3.7 trillion naira to any section of the country,” the leader of the group explained.

“In addition, we wish to draw the attention of all Nigerians on the allegation made by Senator Agom Jarigbe, representing Cross River North in the plenary that some ranking senators received the sum of 500 million naira each excluding himself but was prevented from speaking further by deliberately turning off his microphone. The allegation was ignored by the Presiding Officer”

The group commended Senator Ningi for his courage doggedness and patriotism by exposing the inadequacies in the budget.

“Such inadequacies include a situation where some constituencies got allocations as high as 120 billion naira while others got less than a billion,” he said.

“Is it in line with the assertion of a senator that “not all animals are equal? We condemn and reject the undemocratic suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi from the Senate”

The group also called for the 2024 budget be reviewed and all anomalies therein be corrected with immediate effect

“We would like to make it categorically clear that should the Senate insist on denying Senator Ningi a fair hearing, we, the good people of Bauchi State, particularly constituents from the Bauchi Central Senatorial District, will follow all lawful and democratic means to seek for redress,” Miagamo stated

“It is imperative that our democracy must thrive on the principle of justice fairness and accountability. We must uphold such values and hold our elected officials accountable for their actions and inactions”