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Atiku condemns N3tn budget padding, calls for thorough investigation

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Atiku Abubakar has promised to restructure Nigeria if elected by PDP delegates in Abia

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential election, has condemned, in totality, the budget padding allegations made by Sen. Abdul Ningi.

In a statement published on his X page on Thursday, Atiku berated the Senate over the hasty suspension of Ningi without a thorough investigation into his claims.

Noting that such wrong practices draw Nigeria into the mud of derision, the PDP stalwart called for “an immediate and thorough investigation into these allegations.”

Calling the budget padding an “outright fraud,” Atiku noted that these allegations should not be swept under the rug as its adverse effects include “padded hunger, padded poverty, padded insecurity, padded energy crises, padded forex instability, and the soaring cost of living.”

Berating the President Bola Tinubu-led administration’s “disgraceful track record of ignoring issues of transparency and due process in public administration,” Atiku argued that “denials are unacceptable, and the suspension of one senator cannot silence accusations of corruption and illegal fiscal spending by the federal government.”

Atiku’s statement reads, “Over the past few days, allegations have rocked the Senate, questioning the very integrity of the 2024 Appropriation Act, the cornerstone of our nation’s annual planning and development.

“A fiscal policy analytics and advocacy organization has unequivocally confirmed a disturbing lack of transparency within the 2024 Appropriation Act.

“Furthermore, the sudden suspension of the whistle-blower Senator, without adequate explanation, has only fueled the crisis, leaving us with more questions than answers.

“I demand an immediate and thorough investigation into these allegations. Appropriation lies at the heart of governance, and any deviation from serving the people’s interests will be met with fierce opposition.

“Denials are unacceptable, and the suspension of one senator cannot silence accusations of corruption and illegal fiscal spending by the federal government.

“Without a clear explanation to the people of Nigeria, we must treat these allegations for what they are: outright fraud.

“The accusation of budget padding totaling N3 trillion cannot be dismissed lightly by the government.

“Given the current hardships facing our nation, a padded budget is already translating to padded hunger, padded poverty, padded insecurity, padded energy crises, padded forex instability, and the soaring cost of living.

“The people of Nigeria cannot afford to ignore allegations that worsen our already dire economic situation.

“The current federal government has a disgraceful track record of ignoring issues of transparency and due process in public administration.

“The unresolved $3.3 billion NNPCL loan repayment scandal, with Nigeria now expected to repay $12 billion, remains a glaring example.

“The Tinubu administration must address these high-profile corruption cases transparently.

“The National Assembly, as the elected representatives of the people, is constitutionally obligated to legislate for the peace, order, and good governance of our nation without colluding with corrupt elements.

“Failure to do so and persisting in denial will only confirm the government’s complicity in official malpractice.”

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