The federal government continues its pattern of uneven financial allocations in the annual budget, diverging from the intended goal of equitable wealth distribution,leadership reports.

Investigations by this publication reveal that certain institutions and senatorial districts, backed by influential representatives in both the National Assembly and executive branches, manipulate the national budget for their benefit.

An analysis of the 2024 national budget exposes disparities, with some senatorial districts receiving as little as N6-7 billion, while others, like Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, home to Senate President Godswill Akpabio, receive substantial allocations, such as N21 billion from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs alone. This figure excludes allocations from other ministries to the same zone.

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Allegedly, the former Akwa-Ibom State governor, now serving as Senate President, influenced various committees to secure preferences in the N28.7 trillion budget. Within the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and Women Affairs, over 20 new project items were introduced, seemingly to serve specific interests.

Under the Ministry of Agriculture, unique budget items like the construction of rural roads and markets in Akwa-Ibom North-West, totaling N18.5 billion, were proposed. Additionally, the Ministry of Women Affairs introduced four new items to empower women in the Senate President’s constituency. Notably, N2.5 billion is allocated for women’s empowerment initiatives, including provisions of deep freezers and generators across ten local governments, with N250 million earmarked for each local government.

Detailed allocations also include N1 billion for the construction of rural farm roads in various local governments within the senatorial district, alongside N500 million for the installation of solar street lights in towns. Other plans entail the rehabilitation of roads, installation of transformers, and erosion control measures, aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity and infrastructure development in the region.

If Senator Akpabio can influence relevant financial departments, the agric ministry will implement various projects in his constituency, totaling billions of naira.

The Senate has defended Senator Akpabio against calls for his resignation over alleged budget padding allegations. The Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs criticized the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for its demand, stating that no wrongdoing justifies Akpabio’s resignation.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has called for an investigation into the allegations raised by Senator Abdul Ningi regarding the integrity of the 2024 Appropriation Act. Atiku criticized the sudden suspension of Ningi, emphasizing the importance of transparency in governance. He demanded accountability from the government, especially concerning allegations of budget padding totaling N3 trillion, which he deemed unacceptable given the country’s economic challenges. Atiku urged the government to address corruption cases transparently and uphold due process in public administration.


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