The House of Representatives yesterday dissolved into a raucous session following the unanimous rejection of a bill seeking to establish the South-East Development Commission.
The proposed Commission which seeks to create a Development Commission that will be charged with the responsibility of allocation of fund from the Federation Account for the reconstruction of houses and infrastures in the South-East.
Sponsor of the Bill, Rep Chukwuka Onyema said the Commission will help to reconstruct the infrastructures destroyed by the civil war in the region.
However, some of the lawmakers who contributed to the debate, said the timing of the bill was not right and adequate consultations were not done before it was brought before the House.
Rep Onyeama: the bill seeks to establish the commission for the development of the region as a result of civil war, and that the bill doesn’t intend to usurp the powers of any arm of government.
“The funding shall be 15 percent of the total monthly allocation to South East State, 3 percent of any oil company operating in the states, 3 percent of ecological fund due to the states, 3 percent of any solid mineral found in any of the states.
Speaking in support of the bill, Minority Leader of the House, Rep Leo Ogor (PDP Delta), while contributing to the debate, said the bill is a step right direction, adding that the country need to be restructured, and he appealed to his colleagues to considered the bill.
On his part, Rep Uzoma Nkem-Abonta was of the opinion that the funding component of this bill, will be drawn from the affected states, therefore there is no financial pressure on any state of the federation.
“It is advised that every region and state should find ways of raising funds for sustainable development.
We must be united in the welfare of Nigerians.
This is the right time to address the problems of the South East. If we can’t do it now, when do we do it?
Rep Henry Nwawuba (PDP, Imo): said it is high time that we stopped looking at Nigeria from the perspective of North and West.
Rep Toby Okechukwu while supporting the bill said “it is not intended to appropriate undue advantage to the region.”
Adding that the commission is going to be a special purpose vehicle for which the region will aggregate its resources and develop itself.
Speaking against the bill, Rep Sani Abdul, (APC Bauchi), said the agitation to create the commission is as a result government’s failure to its citizens, saying “We should look at it holistically in other not to have a problem. We are worried, the timing of the bill with the agitation of Biafra is suspicious.”
On his part, Sunday Karimi, a lawmaker from Kogi, 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 “will be too much.”
In his contribution, Sani Zorro (APC Jigawa), said not much consultation has gone into the bill. “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 we should consult further.”
However, a member from Jigawa state and one of those opposed to the Bill, Rep. Gudaji Kazaure later addressed the corps where he berated those who felt that the Speaker was biased in ruling in favour of the nay sayers.
According to him; “The South East legislators were wrong to have accused Speaker Dogara of truncating the passage of the Bill, they are blaming the Speaker on an issue decided by the members of the House.”
The House presided by its speaker Hon. Yakubu Dogara rejected the bill after it was put to a voice vote