“How Akpabio, Abass, Two Others Padded Tinubu’s Palliative Budget With Over ₦9b Each” – Sources Reveals

Sen. Godswill Akpabio

Senate President Godswill Akpabio and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abass have been accused of padding the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act with not less than ₦9 billion each.

Sources told reporters that the leaders of upper and lower legislative chambers padded the budget for personal and selfish interests.

Other principal officers accused of being involved in the budget padding include the Senate Majority Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central, All Progressives Congress) and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Solomon Adeola, better known as Yayi (Ogun West, APC).

And for the House of Representatives, others accused of being involved include the House Majority Leader, Julius Ihonvbere who represents Owan Federal Constituency of Edo State (APC) and the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Abubakar Bichi (APC, Kano).

The federal lawmakers along with some of their colleagues have been accused of using the amendment of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act as an opportunity to pad the budget.

One of the sources said, “In the amended supplementary budget that the Senate and House of Reps passed weeks ago, Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker each has not less than N9 billion padded and inserted into the budget for personal and selfish interests.

“Same with the Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation; same with the House Majority Leader and also Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation

“This is the budget that Senator Akpabio and also the Speaker of the House of Reps used to deceive Nigerians, saying the purpose of the amendment of the 2022 supplementary budget is to get funds for palliatives to cushion the effects of subsidy removal, whereas it was an opportunity for them to enrich themselves at the expense of Nigerian masses.”

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

The Senate on Thursday, July 13 approved the request made by the President to appropriate ₦500 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.

The ₦500 billion will be taken from the ₦819 billion Supplementary Appropriation Act.

Documents obtained by journalists from sources show how millions of naira were arbitrarily awarded to projects.

These include the supply of tricycles (Keke Napep) to the underprivileged in Oyo, Ogun and Lagos states – ₦150 million; supply of tricycles (Keke Napep) to the underprivileged in Kogi and Kwara states – ₦100 million; supply of tricycles (Keke Napep) to the underprivileged in Katsina and Kebbi states – ₦100 million; supply of 1 unit of Lexus 600 VIP 2023 Model Y – ₦250 million; supply of 1 unit of Lexus L600 VIP 2023 Model Y – ₦250 million; supply of 1 unit of Lexus 600 VIP 2023 Model X – ₦250 million and model T – ₦250 million.

Others include the reconstruction and refurbishment of Zazzau Emirate Guest House in Kaduna State -₦200 million, Gidan Hakimin Doka in Kaduna State, ₦200 million, Gidan Hakimin Rigachikun in Kaduna -₦200 million, installation of solar streetlights in Gabasawa, Gwarzo, Hanono local government areas in Kano State- ₦999,900,900.00, installation of solar-powered boreholes and provision of solar lights in Bauchi central – ₦300 million, construction of a block of classrooms with toilet and furniture in Kabo, Bichi, Danbatta, Makoda, Rimin Gado, Tofa, Dawakin Tofa, Bagwai and Shanono, and other local government areas – ₦1 billion, and pupils desk in Makoda, Rimin Gado, and Gwarzo, Gabasawa, Bagwai and others – ₦2 billion.

Others include the reconstruction and refurbishment of Gidan Hakimin Makarfi in Kaduna State – ₦200 million, reconstruction and refurbishment of Gidan Hakimin Soba in Kaduna State – ₦200 million, reconstruction and refurbishment of Gidan Hakimin Fatika in Kaduna State – ₦200 million, reconstruction and refurbishment of Idan Hakimin Ikara in Kaduna State – ₦200 million, reconstruction and refurbishment of Gidan Hakimin Giwa in Kaduna State- ₦200 million, reconstruction and refurbishment of Gidan Hakimin Igabi in Kaduna State – ₦200 million and reconstruction and refurbishment of Gidan Hakimin Birni Da Kewaye in Kaduna State – ₦200 million, and construction of block of 3 classrooms with furniture and toilet in each of the following wards Kwarbai A, Kwarbai B, Kaura, Limancin Kona, Anguwwan Fatika, Dutsen Abba, Kufena, Tukur Tukur, Tudun Wada, Gyallesu, Dambo, Wuciciri in Kaduna State – ₦500 million

Others identified by sources in the construction of a multi-story block of classrooms with furniture and toilet in selected primary schools in Bichi Central in Bichi Federal Constituency in Kano State – ₦300 million, construction of a multi-story block of classrooms with furniture and toilet in selected primary schools in Bichi West in Bichi Federal Constituency in Kano State – ₦300 million, construction of a multi-story block of classrooms with furniture and toilet in selected primary schools in Bichi South in Bichi Federal Constituency in Kano State – ₦300 million, and construction of primary healthcare centres with furniture in each of the following wards – Kwarbai A, Kaura, Limancin Kona, Dutsen Abba, Tukur Tukur, Tudun Wada, Wuciciri in Kaduna State – ₦600 million.

Others are supply of tricycles (Keke Napep) to the underprivileged in the following wards – Kwarbai A, Kwarbai B, Kaura, Limancin Kona, Anguwwan Fatika Dutsen Abba, Kufena, Tukur Tukur, Tudun Wada, Gyallesu, Dambo, Wuciciri in Kaduna State – ₦300 million, supply of tricycles (Keke Napep) to the under-privileged in Kano State – ₦100 million, supply of tricycles (Keke Napep) to the under-privileged in Akwa Ibom, Imo and Rivers states – ₦150 million, provision of 3 x 300 KVA solar mini-grid and solar streetlights in Alayi, Bende, Ezukwu and Igbere in Bende Federal Constituency in Abia State – ₦700 million, provision of 3 x 300 KVA solar mini-grid and solar streetlights in item, Itumbuzo, Nkpa and Ntalakwu in Bende Federal Constituency in Aria State – ₦700 million, provision of 3 x 300 KVA solar mini-grid and solar streetlights in Ozuitem, Ugwueke, Umu-Imenyi, Umuhu-Ezechi, and Uzuakoli in Bende Federal Constituency in aria state – ₦800 million, provision of solar streetlights in Ute Okpu, Ika North East LGA, Delta State – ₦110 million and provision of solar streetlights in Emu and Okhuesan Ward 5 in Esan South East LGA in Edo State – ₦200 million.

Others are the supply and installation of 300 KVA/500 KVA transformers and electrification in the following wards – Kwarbai A, Kwarbai B, Kaura, Limancin Kona in Kaduna State – ₦330 million, supply and installation of 300 KVA/500 KVA transformers and electrification in the following wards – Anguwwan Fatika, Dutsen Abba, Kufena, Tukur Tukur, in Kaduna State -N330 million and supply and installation of 300 KVA/500 kva transformers and electrification in the following wards Tudun Wada, Gyallesu, Dambo, Wuciciri in Kaduna State – ₦330 million.

On July 14, it was reported that sources disclosed that Senate President Akpabio and some of his colleagues used the amendment of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act as an opportunity to pad the budget by over ₦200 billion.

Sources told reporters that the senators involved capitalised on the request made by President Bola Tinubu for the appropriation of ₦500 billion for palliatives through the amendment of the Act to heavily pad the budget.

Sources also identified Senator Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District), Deputy Senate President Jibrin Barau (Kano North Senatorial District) and Senator 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 (₦500, 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) 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 THE EYES OPENER 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.

“Akpabio and Adeola Yayi inserted over ₦200 billion into Tinubu’s palliative budget. They padded in more than ₦200 billion in the amended 2022 supplementary budget,” one of the sources in the Senate had told reporters.

“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 had said.

Documents obtained by journalists at the time 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).

For instance, ₦1 billion was suddenly earmarked for the “supply of Tricycles (Keke NAPEP) to the underprivileged in the society,” ₦2 billion was allocated to the “construction of public buildings in various communities and villages,” ₦4 billion was earmarked for rehabilitation and construction of selected critical roads while ₦2 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 ₦500 million for the construction of Edi Road, Sabo Market and Ilaro Township Road, Yewa South, Ogun State; ₦1 billion for the construction of roads in Imeko, Afon, Iwoye and Obada, Ogun State; ₦1 billion for the construction of Ilashe-Agbara Road, Agbara Ado Odo-Ota in Ogun; ₦1 billion for the construction of market square -Fadama Ring Road, Imasayi, Yewa North and Ota Lafenwa Road section 1, Ota, Ogun State.

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