The Global News reports that the presidency has addressed the allegation of padding the 2024 budget by the National Assembly with N3 trillion, stating that it is untrue that the federal government is operating two versions of the 2024 budget.

Abdul Ningi, the senator representing Bauchi Central, alleged in an interview with BBC Hausa on Saturday that the 2024 budget was padded with N3 trillion in the National Assembly.

Ningi stated that the Northern Senators Forum has enlisted the assistance of experts to review the budget. As the chairman of the forum, he emphasized that the budget has caused significant harm to the North and the nation as a whole.

In a statement on Sunday, Bayo Onanuga, a presidential aide, clarified that President Bola Tinubu did not submit a budget of N25 trillion to the National Assembly, but rather N27.5 trillion.

Onanuga said the national assembly passed N28.7 trillion, noting that the budget could not have been padded with N3 trillion as claimed by Ningi.

“Contrary to the strange view expressed by Senator Ningi, there was no way the senate could have debated and passed a N25 Trillion budget that was not presented to the national assembly,” Onanuga said.

“We don’t expect a ranking senator not to pay due attention to details before making wild claims. It is also important to let Nigerians know that the budget that President Tinubu signed into law on January 1, 2024, as passed by the national assembly was N28.7 trillion.

“The national assembly, in its wisdom, increased the amount proposed by the executive by N1.2 trillion.

“In the spirit of democracy which allows give and take, President Tinubu didn’t withhold his assent to the appropriation bill as passed by the national assembly.

“We want to stress that if the budget figure was increased and made to be different from what the executive proposed, it was the national assembly that jacked it up in exercise of its power of appropriation.”

Onanuga added that the claim that the budget was “anti-north” is “uncharitable” stressing that Tinubu is leading a “government that is fair and equitable to every part and segment of Nigeria”.

The presidential aide said the northern part of the country is “covered in all areas, from security to agriculture, healthcare to education, and other important infrastructure”.

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