Bight Newspaper reports that the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has demanded an explanation from the federal government on the allegation of padding rocking the 2024 national budget.

Atiku held that denials or suspension of one senator was not enough to silence the accusation of financial misappropriation by the federal government.

In a statement on Thursday, the former Vice President said the news of the alleged N3 trillion padding of the 2024 national budget is a pointer to a disturbing lack of transparency within the government.

He said the news on the alleged padding also brings into question the integrity of the entire 2024 budget.

Also speaking on the suspension of Bauchi Senator, Abdul Ningi, who raised the alarm about the alleged padding, Atiku said the action of the Senate only fuels the crisis and leaves the people with more questions than answers.

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He, therefore, charged the federal government led by President Bola Tinubu to give a clear explanation to Nigerians and avoid the habit of ignoring due process in public administration.

According to him, failure to address the issues will confirm the government’s complicity in official malpractice.

The 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.

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“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 a padded hunger, padded poverty, padded insecurity, padded energy crises, padded forex instability, and the soaring cost of living.

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“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, are 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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