Under the leadership of Senate President Godswill Akpabio, the Senate took the decision to suspend Senator Abdul Ningi on Tuesday over accusations related to the alleged padding of the 2024 Budget, totaling N3.7 trillion. Ningi, representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, faced a three-month suspension following a contentious session in the Senate.

Jimoh Ibrahim, a member of the Appropriation Committee, initially proposed a motion for Ningi’s suspension for 12 months, citing allegations of criminal misinformation and breach of peace within the National Assembly and the country. However, Senators Asuquo Ekpenyong and Abdulfatai Buhari moved for amendments, reducing the proposed suspension to six and three months, respectively.

Following a voice vote, which saw a majority of Senators in favor, Akpabio described Ningi’s offenses as “serious.” In an interview, Ningi had made claims regarding two versions of the 2024 budget and alleged bias against the North in the passed N28.7 trillion Budget, which had drawn significant criticism from his colleagues and the Presidency.

Despite denying the assertion of two budgets, Ningi maintained that N25 trillion of the budget was allocated to projects, while N3.7 trillion remained unallocated. He expressed readiness to face the consequences, even if it led to his suspension.

Meanwhile, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele labeled Ningi’s claims of budget padding as a “civilian coup” and accused him of attempting to incite the Northern Senators’ Forum against Akpabio, insinuating regional tensions. Bamidele emphasized the need to support Akpabio’s tenure as Senate President and denounced any efforts to destabilize it.

Bamidele underscored the importance of upholding Senate rules and the constitution, stressing the need for stability and unity within the Senate. He urged colleagues to prioritize the welfare of Nigerians over personal or regional interests, highlighting the significance of Akpabio’s leadership in maintaining a stable Senate.