Home » ACF Critiques Ningi’s Suspension, Demands Fair Senate Deliberations

ACF Critiques Ningi’s Suspension, Demands Fair Senate Deliberations

Forum Advocates for Transparent Investigation into Budget Padding Claims

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe
Senator Ningi suspension

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has voiced its dismay over the recent suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi from the Nigerian 10th Senate. The suspension, which sidelines the representative of Bauchi Central for three months, has sparked a wave of reactions, prompting ACF to call for a reevaluation of the Senate’s decision-making protocols, particularly regarding open and fair debates on critical national issues.

In a detailed statement released by Prof. Tukur Muhammad-Baba, the ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, the Forum highlighted the gravity of the allegations that led to Ningi’s suspension, notably the controversial “budget padding” claims. Senator Ningi, prior to his suspension, played a pivotal role as the leader of the Northern Caucus of Senators, a position he resigned from amidst the unfolding drama.

The ACF acknowledged the Senate’s constitutional right to regulate its internal affairs but stressed the importance of adhering strictly to due process and fair hearing principles. “For a legislative body that holds the power to shape laws and oversee the executive branch, maintaining transparency and fairness is not just expected, it’s imperative,” Muhammad-Baba emphasized in the statement.

The core of the contention revolves around allegations made by Ningi, suggesting an improper allocation of N3.7 trillion in the 2024 Federation budget, an accusation the 10th Senate has since denied. However, ACF argues that the approach to addressing these allegations seemed hastily executed, focusing more on discrediting the messenger rather than investigating the message’s validity.

The ACF’s statement further expressed concern over the potential repercussions of the rushed suspension on the communities in Northern Nigeria, advocating for a more thorough investigation by the Senate into the budget padding allegations. “The hasty suspension of Senator Ningi only serves to leave critical allegations unaddressed, casting a shadow over the Senate’s credibility and, by extension, the executive branch,” the Forum remarked.

As Bauchi Central faces a lack of representation in the Senate for the duration of Ningi’s suspension, the ACF stands in solidarity with the senator and his supporters, urging them to pursue constitutional means for a resolution. The Forum also calls upon the 10th Senate to embrace a more thoughtful and sensitive approach to criticism, emphasizing that robust debates are fundamental to nurturing a thriving democratic society. This development raises crucial questions about the balance between legislative authority and the imperative for transparency in governance processes.

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