Senate President Akpabio and others in fresh scandal, pad Tinubu’s palliative budget with over N200 billion

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Senate President Godswill Akpabio and some of his colleagues have been enmeshed in a fresh scandal as they were accused of using the amendment of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act as an opportunity to pad the budget by over N200 billion.

According to Sahara Reporters, the senators involved capitalised on the request made by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the appropriation of N500 billion for palliatives through the amendment of the Act to heavily pad the budget.

Budget padding is making the budget larger than the original estimates by inflating the value of items or introducing new items into the budget.

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Recall that the Senate on Thursday approved the request made by the President to appropriate N500 billion for palliatives to cushion the effects of the removal of the petrol subsidy on Nigerians.

The Senate’s approval followed that of the House of Representatives which earlier agreed to the President’s request by amending the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act.

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The N500 billion will be taken from the N819 billion Supplementary Appropriation Act.

Sources who spoke to Sahara Reporters on Thursday, July 12, 2023, identified Senator Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District), Deputy Senate President Jibrin Barau (Kano North Senatorial District) and Senator Solomon Adeola, popularly called Yayi (Ogun West Senatorial District) as the major architects of the budget padding.

The Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central), who sponsored the motion which was given accelerated passage by the Senate had said, “Mr. President, my highly esteemed colleagues, permit me to lead the Debate on this very important Bill which seeks to authorize the issuance of the sum of Five Hundred Billion (N500, 000, 000, 000.00 Naira only.

“This sum has been extracted from the 2022 Supplementary Appropriations Act of Eight Hundred and Nineteen Billion, Five Hundred and Thirty-Six Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty-Seven Thousand, Eighth Hundred and Fifteen (819, 536, 937, 815.00) Naira only for the provision of Palliatives to Nigerians to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.”

“Finally, I believe that the proposal in this Supplementary Appropriation is laudable and will help cushion the suffering of the Citizens of this country owing to the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS),” he had added.

But it was learnt that some senators including the Chief Whip, Ali Ndume (Borno South) openly objected to the budget padding by their colleagues but that didn’t stop the “crooked” ones from going ahead with it.

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“Akpabio and Adeola Yayi inserted over N200 billion into Tinubu’s palliative budget. They padded in more than N200 billion in the amended 2022 supplementary budget,” one of the sources in the Senate said.

“Senator Ali Ndume and others opposed it vehemently. Many senators walked out but Senator Akpabio still went ahead and passed the fraud.

“Akpabio, Senator Jibrin Barau and Senator Adeola Yayi are the major architects of the budget padding,” another source said.

Documents obtained by SaharaReporters show how funds were allocated under the column -2022 supplementary amendment (New amount) for projects that hitherto had no allocations under column – 2022 supplementary bill (Amount).

The Padding

For instance, N1 billion was suddenly earmarked for the “supply of Tricycles (Keke NAPEP) to the underprivileged in the society,” N2 billion was allocated to the “construction of public buildings in various communities and villages,” N4 billion was earmarked for rehabilitation and construction of selected critical roads while N2 billion was earmarked for the “construction of block of 3 classrooms with furniture and toilet, construction and furnishing of skills acquisition centres and construction of primary healthcare centres with furniture in some selected communities and towns”.

Other include N500 million for the construction of Edi Road, Sabo Market and Ilaro Township Road, Yewa South, Ogun State; N1 billion for the construction of roads in Imeko, Afon, Iwoye and Obada, Ogun State; N1 billion for the construction of Ilashe-Agbara Road, Agbara Ado Odo-Ota in Ogun; N1 billion for the construction of market square -Fadama Ring Road, Imasayi, Yewa North and Ota Lafenwa Road section 1, Ota, Ogun State.

-N800 million for police barracks, Old Baggage Link Road, Ode Ogun Idiroko, Ogun State

-N700 million for the construction of some rural roads in Ikot Ekpene LGA, Akwa Ibom to enhance agricultural output

-N1.25 billion for the construction of some rural roads in Essien Udim LGA to improve farm produce

-N1.25 billion for the construction of Afama Ikot Ebak, Ikot Akpan Essiet, Ura Kpan Ikot Ukpang and Ikot Ebie OkonRoads to boost agricultural output N1.25 billion

-N400 million for the construction of Ibi Akpan-Not Akan/Old Federal Government College Roads to boost farm produce

-N1.25 billion for the construction of some rural roads in Abiakpo Ikot Essien-Ikono to ease the movement of farm produce

-N1 billion for enhancing agricultural output by constructing all-in-one solar street lights on some roads in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, Abak LGA and Essien Udim

-N2 billion for the repair of flood-prone sections along Abuja-Keffi expressway (Abuja bound) from Km 0+000 – Km 9+400 and construction of township road in Bare-Bari Bauya and Lailai in Yobe State

-N1 billion for the supply of brand-new Toyota/Lexus Jeeps

-N1 billion for the supply and installation of 300 KVA/500KVA transformers and electrification in selected towns and villages

-N2 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of critical roads in south-south and southeast of the country

-N2.5 billion for the construction and maintenance of critical roads linking selected towns

-N2.5 billion for the provision of 3 x 300 KVA solar mini-grid and solar streetlights in selected communities

-N3 billion for mini-grid and other solar-powered installations on selected locations and roads

-N3 billion for the construction of roads and other infrastructure in some selected areas

-N3 billion for the reconstruction/construction of classrooms and provision of furniture in areas affected by flood and some selected areas  

-N2 billion to repairs on flood-prone sections along Abuja-Keffi Expressway

-N900 million for the rehabilitation of Dan Fodiyo Teaching Hospital Annex Argungu Phase 1 in Kebbi State

-N1 billion for the construction of Section I of Iyin-Ilawe Ekiti State

-N1 billion for the construction of Section II of Iyin-Ilawe Ekiti State

-N1 billion for the construction of inner roads in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State

-N1 billion for the construction of inner roads in Ijero Ekiti, Ekiti State

-N70 billion for the provision of operational vehicles for members, office equipment, furniture fittings and other capital items for the 10th National Assembly.

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