Northern senators’ comments on 2024 budget, depts relocation, unpatriotic, regrettable – Southern elders, others

The Southern Nigeria Elders Solidarity Forum has taken a swipe at the Senators from the North over their recent comments on the planned relocation of some departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) from Abuja to Lagos State and the 2024 budget, which they claimed was lopsided against the North.

Similarly, the Northern Peace and Justice Initiative and the Coalition of Civil Society For Good Governance and Accountability, expressed their disappointments over the comments.

They described the outbursts as ill-conceived, unguarded, unpatriotic and regrettable.

58 federal lawmakers, under the aegis of the Northern Senators Forum had condemned President Bola Tinubu over alleged unfair treatment of the North, in the 2024 national budget and approving the relocation of some departments of CBN and Aviation agencies to Lagos.

Recall that the Northern Senators had, in a widely publicised statement, alleged that projections and provisions of the N28.7.trillion 2024 budget, were unfair to the North. They also alleged that some federal agencies were being relocated to Lagos.

The Northern Senators made the disclosure in a statement, signed by their spokesperson, Senator Suleiman Kawu Summaila (NNPP Kano South), in Abuja, titled, “Allocation and Distribution of Funds in 2024 National Budget and Relocation of Some Federal Agencies to Lagos”

In their separate reactions on Sunday, the Southern Elders Forum, the Northern Peace and Justice Initiative and the Coalition of Civil Society For Good Governance and Accountability, cautioned the Northern senators against comments capable of causing tensions across regions.

The Southern Forum, in a statement by its Spokesperson, Emmanuel Silas, expressed regrets that “Senators who pride themselves as leaders of the people could suddenly switch energy to issues capable of setting regions against each other.”

Silas described the reactions of the Northern senators as strange considering the fact that they participated in scrutinising the budget when it was presented to the National Assembly.

He said, “the Senators’ statement was not only unfortunate, but also least expected of people of their caliber,” adding “such was capable of causing distractions in governance and creating unnecessary tension in the country.

The Forum cautioned against deliberate attempts “to undermine a government that had been widely acknowledged as doing everything humanly possible to take the country to its place of destiny, without negatively affecting any part of the country in whatever way.

” the statement by the Senators gave an indication that the 2024 budget was either not well studied, or they looked the other way in getting the genuine facts that necessitated the planned relocation of certain departments of government to Lagos, which was basically aimed at administrative convenience.”

The Northern Peace, and Justice Initiative in a statement by its President, Abdulkabir Farouk said contrary to claims by the Senators, there had never been any step.taken so far, to suggest that the Tinubu’s administration had plans to externalise any region of the country, or short-change them in the scheme of things.

The group advised the Senators ” to channel whatever bothers them on the runnings of government, through a more mature way, or at best, seek audience with the President to discuss such matters, rather than engaging in activities, perceived to be tantamount to deliberate incitements or subversions.”

The Coalition of Civil Society For Good Governance and Accountability, on their part, sued for peace among the Northern senators adding that they have benefited immensely in the National Assembly.

According to them; “All Northern NASS members were involved with many northerners as chairmen of key committees.

“We have the chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, who is a Northerner from Kano. The ZIP projects are evenly distributed across the country, and all NASS members nominate projects.”


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