New Telegraph

Senate Passes S’East Development Commission Bill

The Senate, yesterday, passed the Bill seeking to establish a South East Development Commission (SEDC), barely two months after it was passed by the House of Representatives. The Bill was passed by the 8th Senate but did not receive by former President Muhammadu Buhari. The Commission, when established, has the responsibility to receive and manage funds from allocation of the Federation Account for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads, houses and other infrastructural damages suffered by the region as a result of the effect of the civil war.

The apex legislative assembly passed the bill following the clause by clause consideration of the report on the proposal at its Committee of the Whole, Chaired by the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio. During plenary, Michael Opeyemi, the Senate Leader, and Senator representing Ekiti Central, presented the Bill for an Act, which is designed to act as catalyst to develop the commercial potentials of the South East and for other Connected Matters, 2024.

The House of Representatives on December 21, 2023, at its Committee of the Whole, Chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, who is also the sponsor of the Bill, unanimously passed it for 3rd reading and sent it to the Senate for concurrence. The Senate approved the long title of the Bill as recommended, clause 2 as amended, clause 3 to 5 as recommended, clause 6 as amended, clauses 7 to 29 as recommended, interpretation clause 30 as recommended, short title clause 31 as recommended, schedules 1 and explanatory memorandum as recommended.

The Commission, when established, shall among other functions, “conceive, plan and implement, in accordance with the set rules and regulations, projects and programmes for the sustainable development of the South East States in the field of transportation including roads, health, education, employment, agriculture, industrialisation, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and telecommunications; cause the South East States to be surveyed in order to ascertain measures which are necessary to promote its physical and socio-economic development.

“Implement all the measures approved for the development of the South East States by the Federal Government and the member States of the Commission; identify factors inhibiting the development of the South East States and assist the member states in the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the South East States; assess and report on any project being funded or carried out in the South East States by mineral extracting and mining companies, oil and gas producing companies, and any other company including non- governmental organisations and ensure that funds released for such projects are properly utilised.”

In his remarks after the Bill’s passage, the President of the Senate, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, noted that once the Bill becomes law, it brings development and the region’s fears will be addressed. With the passage at both Chambers, a Conference Committee will be set up to harmonise differences before it will be transmitted to President Bola Tinubu for his assent.

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