Inside Details: Five lawmakers who pushed for passage of South-East Development Commission Bill

The House of Representative was, Thursday, thrown into a rowdy session after members, particularly those outside the South-East region, disagreed on a bill seeking to establish the South-East Development Commission over its timing, leading to it being stepped down.

The lawmakers who disagreed argued that much consultations were not carried out before the bill was presented to the house.

The development which angered the South-East lawmakers saw them immediately voicing their displeasure over the development.

The South-East Development Commission if established would be charged with the responsibility, among other things, to receive and manage fund from allocation of the Federation Account for the development, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of roads, houses and other infrastructure, as well as tackle the menace of poverty, ecological problems and any other related environmental or developmental challenges in the South-East states and for other related matters (HB 915).

While leading the debate on the bill, Honourable Chukwuka Onyema said the commission is one of unity and inclusiveness and has the potential to douse all tension and agitations in the South-East region.

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The House Minority Leader, Rep. Leo Ogor (Delta-PDP), said the bill will address most of the issues affecting the region.

“This country cannot continue with the situation where we come to Abuja every month to share money. I think every zone deserves such commission because it will make everybody look inward. This nation needs to be restructured, we cannot continue the way we are going,” Ogor said.

Rep. Sani Abdul (Bauchi-APC), said that the agitation to create the commission was as a result of government’s inability to address the socio-economic challenges in the country.

“We should look at it holistically in order not to have problems.We are worried, however, because the timing of the bill with the agitation for Biafra is suspicious,” Abdul said.

However, some lawmakers while opposing the bill, said the timing was not appropriate.

Rep. Sunday Karimi (Kogi-PDP) said that some of the South-East states were already captured in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) “and the creation of a South East Commission will be too much”.

Rep. Sani Zorro (Adamawa-APC) said not much consultation was done to ensure the success of the bill.
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“I won’t be comfortable that at the end of the day we leave here with acrimony.

“In view of the debate we have had so far, I am of the view that the sponsors and supporters of this bill should make further consultations,’’ Zorro said.

When the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara put the question, the nay sayers got the majority and it was stepped down.

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