Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Budget Padding: Senator Ningi writes Akpabio, demands reinstatement within 7 days

The Senator representing Bauchi Central in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, Abdul Ningi, has written a letter demanding his reinstatement to Senate President Godswill Akpabio. 

Ningi was suspended by the senate over a budget padding allegation.

In an interview with the BBC, Ningi said that projects worth N3.7 trillion were untraceable in the 2024 budget. The allegation triggered a backlash as Nigerians raised many questions for the lawmakers.

Akpabio, while reacting to the allegations by Ningi, said many Nigerians would no longer trust the Senate because of the allegation.

“Nigerians are bashing the senate. Many Nigerians will never in future come back to respect this chamber. The integrity of this chamber has been totally damaged and we wanted you to repair it with your speech,” he had said.

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After interrogating him at plenary, Ningi was accused of mischief and suspended for three months.

But in a letter through Femi Falana, his counsel, Ningi said his suspension was “unconstitutional and illegal”, referring to Akpabio as the “accuser, prosecutor and judge”.

The Bauchi senator, then, gave Akpabio a 7-day ultimatum to revoke his suspension. He said he would approach the federal high court for his reinstatement if the suspension is not lifted within seven days.

“It is on record that you were the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge in your own case in utter violation of the provisions of section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

“Apart from violating our client’s fundamental right to a fair hearing, the Senate violated the right of the entire people of the Bauchi Central Senatorial District to representation in the Senate for three months.

“This is a breach of section 111 of the Constitution and article 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act.

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“As you are no doubt aware, the Federal High Court had struck down the suspension of some members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who had accused the leadership of both houses of corruption or abuse of office.

“Specifically, the court declared the suspension of the affected legislators illegal and unconstitutional. As a senior lawyer, you ought to have drawn the attention of the members of the Senate to these decisions and several others where the high courts of some states and the Court of Appeal have held that no parliament in Nigeria has the power to suspend or expel a legislator.

“In view of the foregoing, you will agree with us that the suspension of Senator Ningi and the denial of his entitlements are illegal and unconstitutional in every material particular.

“We are compelled to request you to ensure that the said suspension is lifted forthwith. However, if you fail to accede to our request within seven days of the receipt of this letter, we shall not hesitate to pray to the Federal High Court for the reinstatement of our client.

“We shall equally report you to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for treating the judgments of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal with disdain.”


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