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Tinubu breaks silence on alleged N3.7trn budget padding, says Ningi and others criticising lack sense of arithmetic



President Bola Tinubu has broken his silence on the alleged N3.7trn budget padding controversy, saying Senator Abdul Ningi and others who made the allegations do not understand arithmetic.

Tinubu said this when he hosted the Senate leadership to a dinner to break the Ramadan fast at the State House on Thursday in Abuja.

Recall that the President on November 29, 2023, presented the sum of N27 trillion as the proposed budget for the 2024 fiscal year, to the national assembly.

Subsequently, the national assembly passed the appropriation bill on December 30, 2023,, increasing its size from N27.5 trillion proposed by Tinubu to N28.7 trillion.

But in March 2024, Abdul Ningi, senator representing Bauchi Central, stirred controversy when he alleged that the 2024 budget was padded by N3 trillion and that the country is operating two budgets concurrently.

Following the claims, the senate debated the matter at the “committee of the whole”.

Subsequently, the senator was suspended for three months for allegedly not providing evidence to back his allegations.

Godswill Akpabio, senate president, had said many Nigerians would no longer trust the upper legislative chamber 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,” Akpabio told Ningi.

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Addressing the legislators on the budget padding claims, Tinubu said the integrity of the senate is intact.

“I know the arithmetic of the numbers that I brought to the senate and I know what I got back,” the president said.

“And I appreciate all of you for the expeditious handling of the budget. Thank you very much.

“Those who are talking of malicious embellishment in the budget didn’t understand the arithmetic and they didn’t refer to the numbers… the baseline of what I brought.

“All of your integrity is intact. I am very grateful for what you have been doing.”

Tinubu thanked members of the National Assembly for the speedy attention given to the Students Loan Amendment Bill, urging more tolerance, forgiveness, and charity during Ramadan.

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