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Alleged Senate Budget Padding, CHRICED Calls for Forensic Audit of Constituency Project Budgetary Allocations

The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has closely monitored recent events in the Nigerian Senate and observed a troubling trend of blatant disregard for rules, a lack of respect, and insensitivity to the feelings and plights of Nigeria’s teeming population, which is currently wallowing in multidimensional poverty because of unfavourable government policies and programmes. This regrettable circumstance illustrates the degeneration of the Nigerian Senate, which should be the foundation of our democracy’s accountability and a centre for enacting legislation that support democratic principles that propels national growth. Instead, it has been reduced to a ridiculous show in which jesters with no respect for seriousness or responsibility take centre stage, performing acts of shame in public squares, bringing disgrace on themselves and the country.

Senator Abdul Ningi, a senior member of the Senate, recently said that lawmakers padded the current budget by N3.7 trillion, shedding light on the scale of corruption ingrained in Nigeria’s yearly budget. Senator Ningi said in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service that the Senate authorized a budget of 25 trillion Naira, but the executive branch of government is implementing a budget of 28.78 trillion Naira. Senator Ningi’s case before the Senate also showed major variations in the disbursement of constituency project monies among senators. He reminded out that, although some senators earned up to 120 billion Naira, his own senatorial area received just 2 billion Naira, with others getting much less.

The Senate leadership made major attempts to undercut Senator Ningi’s charges and swiftly suspended him without conducting a thorough inquiry to check the veracity of his claims. However, another opposition senator, Jaribe Agom Jaribe, shed light on other corrupt practices in the Nigerian senate by revealing that select senior senators earned an extra 500 million apiece, while others did not. He advised against singling out Ningi, stating that all senators are engaged in the problem of budget padding.

CHRICED applauds Senators Ningi and Jaribe for their courage in speaking out against corruption and theft of public resources in the Nigerian Senate. We strongly deplore Senator Abdul Ningi’s premature suspension without a comprehensive investigation into his claims. This suspension is undemocratic and appears an effort to muzzle a whistle-blower who is exposing corruption. We therefore call for Senator Abdul Ningi’s immediate reinstatement.

Furthermore, we’ve discovered that members in both the Senate and the House of Representatives have developed new methods to sneak fake projects into the budget, making it impossible to monitor. This has occurred since the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) collaborated with selected Civil Society Organizations, including CHRICED, to monitor constituency projects across the country, exposing the fraudulent practices of several federal and state legislators. One such strategy adopted by them is to insert useless and frivolous empowerment initiatives that are virtually hard to track down and do not fulfill the constituents’ concerns. We saw in the 2024 budget that a lot of projects with billions of Naira earmarked to them had no locations or specifics.

Unfortunately, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who pride himself as a certified accountant, signed the same padded budget of the Akpabio-led National Assembly without hesitation. CHRICED is not shocked by this occurrence, since Senator Akpabio’s appointment as Nigerian Senate President and Chairman of the 10th National Assembly suggests that Nigerians would continue to experience corruption scandals on a regular basis. Akpabio’s history of alleged corruption in all of his political roles speaks loudly.

CHRICED consequently calls on the ICPC, the EFCC, and other relevant anti-corruption agencies, such as the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to jointly launch a special investigation into Senator Ningi’s weighty charges and make their findings public. We urge the anti-corruption agencies to focus their attention on the constituency project component of the annual budget, as it has become a conduit pipe for legislators to siphon public funds into their private pockets, as evidenced by the recent budget padding controversy in the Senate.

Finally, CHRICED urges all genuine civil society groups in the country to launch a series of protests against the systemic corruption that has resulted in unprecedented insecurity, including banditry, kidnappings, robbery, ritual murders, and so on. It is time to inform our reckless legislators that enough is enough. Nigerians need better governance and accountability from their elected political representatives. It is time for all stakeholders to band together and demand openness and accountability in all facets of government. By holding our leaders responsible and exposing corrupt practices, we can help to create a more just and equitable society for all Nigerians. Together, we can combat corruption and guarantee that public monies are utilized for the benefit of the people, rather than to line the coffers of a corrupt politicians.

Let us stand together in our struggle for a corruption-free Nigeria!


Comrade Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi
Executive Director

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