Senate passes South East Development Commission Bill

Sharon EboesomiFebruary 22, 20244 min

The commission will be in charge of acknowledging and overseeing funds from the Federation Account for the repair and maintenance of houses, roads, and other infrastructure damages suffered by the region as a result of the civil war’s aftermath.

Senate passes South East Development Commission Bill

The Senate has passed a Bill seeking the establishment of the South East Development Commission.

This decision was sequel to the consideration of the bill’s clauses at its Committee of the Whole, chaired by the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

Recall that the House of Representatives, on December 21, 2023, passed the long-awaited bill at its Committee of the Whole, chaired by Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, who is also the sponsor of the bill, unanimously passed it for a third reading and sent it to the Senate for concurrence.

Also recall that the Senate had on Wednesday 21 January 2024, passed for second reading, bills seeking the establishment of the South West Development Commission and North Central Development Commission.

READ ALSO: Bill to Establish South West, North Central Development Commissions scale second reading in Senate 

The commission’s duties upon establishment will include, but not limited to, conceiving, planning, and implementing projects and programs for the sustainable development of the South East states, in accordance with the set rules and regulations.

Before the bill’s passage, some changes were made. For example, Senator Adamu Aliero‘s observation led to the removal of the members of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, or NSCDC.

Roads, health, education, employment, industrialization, agriculture, housing and urban development, energy, telecommunications, and water supply are among the areas of intervention that will be addressed.

Other functions include, “tackling ecological and environmental problems that arise from the extraction and mining of solid mineral, exploration of oil mineral in the Southeast states and advise the Federal Government and the member states on the prevention and control of oil spillages, gas flaring and environmental pollution; liaise with the various solid mineral extraction and mining companies and oil and gas prospecting and producing companies on all matters of pollution prevention and control; and execute such other works and perform such other functions which in the opinion of the Commission are required for the sustainable development of the South East States and its peoples.”

In his contribution, the Deputy President of the Senate, Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North) said: “As a national body, other zones should be represented on the commission, as done with other regional bodies such as the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and the North East Development Commission, NEDC.”

The Senate President however ruled that clause 2(c) be adjusted to accommodate the amendment.

Also, Clause 2 (h) was amended to give designations to the three executive directors as requested by Senators Osita Izunaso (APC, Imo West) and Osita Ugwu (PDP, Enugu West) and supported by Senator Diket Plang (APC, Plateau Central).

It was decided that the commission should have three executive directors: one each for Corporate Services, Projects, and Finance and Accounting.

Akpabio stated in his remarks following the Bill’s passage that once it becomes law, it will bring about development and allay the worries of the region.

Akpabio said, “It’s a very important bill passed by this 10th Senate. This bill addresses all the fears of our brothers and sisters from the South East. I want to say congratulations.

“I pray this commission will bring a lot of development to the South East and we will assist you to stop any form of agitation and bring peace to your region. When harmonised, it will address the fears of the southeast.”

Sharon Eboesomi

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