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Saturday, April 20, 2024

CSOs write Akpabio, demand information on N3.7tn budget padding 

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A Coalition of Civil Society Organizations has written to the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, demanding information on the allegations of N3.7 trillion budget padding, which trailed the red chamber in the past week.

The coalition also notified the Senate president of a planned mass protest to demand his resignation and that of his Deputy, Jibrin Barau.

A statement by the Coalition, signed by its Director of Communication & Strategy, Haruna Abdulsalam, said as an organisation designed for the promotion of the Rule of Law and Good Governance, it reserves the responsibility to demand facts on the issue of alleged budget padding.

Citing sections 1, 4 and 9 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, Abdulsalam as the premise for its demand, the Coalition maintained that the allegations raised pose grave concern to the Civil Society and all citizens of the country.

The statement partly read, ”Nigerians are still reeling under the allegation of N3 trillion budget padding in a critical time of hunger and starvation and the future adverse effect on our economy and the direct consequences on the standard of living of the people.

”Of late the media space has been awash with allegations and counter allegations of budget padding in the senate chamber by our representatives whom we elected to represent us in the hallowed chamber.

”In an ideal democracy where rule of law, transparency and accountability is the watchword of those that are privileged to lead, it is our belief that the allegation by Senator Abdul Ningi should have been referred to a relevant committee for investigation and all evidence and counter evidence deliberated upon and when all fact is exhausted, Nigerians will no doubt pick that which is true from it. But the turn of events suggests that there are questions to be answered by the leadership of the Senate.

”We hereby request the following documents, a Certified True Copy of the budget highlighting the projects attached to the #3 trillion in contention,

”A Certified True Copy of Constituency projects as benefited by all Senators in the budget.

”Our plan protest will be hinged on the inability of the Senate through the leadership to avail us with detailed and convincing documents with basic explanations to clarify on the alleged anomalies in the budget. For the avoidance of doubt, it is the constitutional right of every citizen to; Request from government agencies and official details management and running of their offices as it affects the people (FOI ACT 2011), Stage peaceful protest of any perceived anomalies as it relates to how the citizens are being led according to United Nations Charter on Civil Society. Every other constitutional means to press home demands accountability and transparency in governance.

”Once again, we wish to reiterate that if there is no response from your office within Seven days as enshrined in Section 4 of the FOI Act, we will be left with no other option than to mobilise over 200 like minded Civil Society Organisations in the Coalition to go ahead with the protest of demanding a change of leadership of the senate.

”Kindly note that our request is sequel to sections 1, 4 and 9 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011”.

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