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Senate Passes South East Development Commission Bill

Senate

Nearly two months following its approval by the House of Representatives, the Senate passed a bill at plenary on Thursday, aiming to establish the South East Development Commission.

During plenary on Wednesday, Michael Opeyemi, the Senate Leader, and senator representing Ekiti Central, presented the Bill for an Act to Act as a Catalyst to Develop the Commercial Potentials of the South East and for Other Connected Matters, 2024 (HB.626) for concurrence and second reading.

The House of Representatives passed the long-awaited bill in December 2023, after years of agitation and attempts at the National Assembly.

DAILY POST recalls that the bill was passed by the 8th Senate but was not received by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The passage of the bill during Senate plenary yesterday followed the presentation of the bill by Senator Bamidele and consideration at the Committee of the Whole.

Certain amendments were made to the bill before its passage.

The inclusion of representatives of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, was expunged after Senator Adamu Aliero’s observation was taken into consideration.

Rather, it was agreed that each of the six geopolitical zones would have a representative on the board of the proposed commission.

Senator Jibrin Barau, who lauded the decision, 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 then ruled that clause 2(c) should 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 and Osita Ugwu. and supported by Senator Diket Plank (Plateau Central).

It was agreed that the commission should have three executive directors, for Finance and Account, Projects and Corporate Services.

Returning from the Committee of the Whole, the Senate President ruled on clause-by-clause consideration and the bill, passed for a third reading, was eventually passed.

Akpabio expressed confidence that the bill will be assented to by President Bola Tinubu, considering the urgent need to leverage the approved commission to fast-track the development of the Southeast geopolitical zone.