N3.7trn budget padding: I got N266m not N500m as a ranking Senator, says Abaribe

The senator representing Abia South, Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe, has disclosed that he only received N266 million, contrary to the claim that some senior senators received N500 million from the 2024 budget.

He made this disclosure following the claim by the Senator representing Cross River North, Senator Jarigbe Agom-Jarigbe, during plenary, on Tuesday.

It would be recalled that Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central) had earlier accused the Senate of padding the 2024 budget, saying the National Assembly added an extra N3.7 trillion to the initial budget.

Reacting to the development, during a chat with ARISE TV, Senator Abaribe said Ningi knew it was a mistake claiming what he could not prove, because he was not a new member in the Senate.

Abaribe added that despite him, himself, being a senior senator, he had not received the N500 million alleged by Jarigbe.

He said, “Senator Ningi knew it was going to be a mistake. He knew. He’s a member of the Senate. He can’t say he didn’t know. He’s an old Senator. He has been in the Senate before. He knew that this wasn’t correct.
“I never got 500 million. I think Jarigbe tried to clarify his statement. He came back subsequently to say, ‘No, Ningi told me I was given’, because he didn’t get. He’s also a ranking Senator.

“So, I think that at the end of the day, what you see really is that…well, I’m an APGA Senator–the only APGA Senator in the Senate. Maybe being a minority of the minority, they didn’t consider me worthy of being given. Nobody told me about that money.

“I wanted to say that, without equivocation, that both Jarigbe and the Senate leader tried to clarify this issue. Number one: nobody was given 500 million. Even a few of my colleagues called me to say, ‘Ahh you get 500 million we dey beg you for money but you no wan give us one naira out of it.’

“Can you imagine? So, of course I got 266 million for what’s called Zonal Intervention Fund which Nigerians call “constituency project” funds. And this thing takes a budget circle which is twelve months. So if at the end of twelve months you don’t see what’s in the budget for your constituency, then you hold your representatives whether in the Reps or Senate culpable.”

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