By Henry Umoru 

 Senate,South East

ABUJA – THE Bill seeking for the Establishment of South East Development Commission, was re- introduced in the Senate on Wednesday .

The Bill was read the first time on Wednesday is being sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Anambra North.

The bill titled, South East Development  Commission (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 ( SB. 161)  seeks the establishment of a governing board for the commission which shall include one person for the other geopolitical zones in the country.

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Also, it is expected to provide a master plan for the reduction of unemployment while also providing the master plan and schemes to promote the physical development of the southeast.

It would be recalled that the Bill for the establishment of a South-East Development Commission and for other matters, was  sponsored in the 8th Senate by the then Chairman, Senate Committee on Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP,  Imo East and Senator Oduah.

It was read the first time on Wednesday, 22nd June 2016 and scaled the second reading in the Senate, 7th June 2017.

Also recall that the 8th Senate on December 12, 2018, passed the bill for the Establishment of the South-East Development Commission, and one week to the end of the 8th Assembly, the House of Representatives had on 28th May 2019, passed the South-East Development Commission Bill,  but failed to receive presidential assent.

Clause 15 (2a) of the bill which identifies source of funding for the commission, stipulates that the equivalent of 10% of the total monthly statutory allocation due to the member states of the commission shall be from the federation account.

Other functions of the bill include: tackling ecological and environmental problems that arise from soil erosion problems and other related environmental challenges in the south East and advise the federal government and member states on the prevention and control of the erosion and environmental challenges as well as identifying factors inhibiting the development of the southeast and assist member states on the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the region.

The Senate also yesterday considered two bills seeking to establish the Modibo Adama University, Yola, and Federal Polytechnic Aba, respectively.

Sponsor of the bill to establish the Modibo Adama University, Senator Aishatu Dahiru (Adamawa Central), said the University was established in 1981 as a Federal University of Technology.

According to her, “the University’s inherent statutory limitation exposed it to a lot of disadvantages – making it impossible to meet the needs of its historic state.”

Dahiru lamented that the limitation adversely affected female students’ demography.

She said, “According to statistics from the universities, there has been a forty percent drop rate in female enrolment in the University following the reversal to core technology programs.

“This has greatly undermined the Federal Government’s efforts in mainstreaming the girl-child education especially in the North East region “

She added that given the huge investment by the Federal Government in the University, citizens of the state would be at an advantage if the University  is made a conventional and multi-disciplinary institution.

In a related development, the Sponsor of the bill seeking to establish the Federal Polytechnic Aba, Senator Theordore Orji (PDP, Abia Central), said the Abia State Polytechnic was established in 1992 and presently has 12,000 students.

According to him, upgrading the Institution into a Federal Polytechnic would bring about technological advancement and manpower to service the nation.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, sequel to consideration of both bills referred them to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further legislative work and report back in four weeks.

Meanwhile, a total of eleven bills scaled first reading yesterday. They are: 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) bill, 2019, by Istifanus) Gyang; Criminal Code CAP C38 LFN 2004 (Amendment) bill, 2019, by Betty Apiafi; Federal College of Forestry Technology and Research, Akamkpa bill, 2019, by Gershom Bassey; Public Procurement Act 2007 (Amendment) bill, 2019, by Uche Ekwunife, and Public Procurement Act 2007 (Amendment) bill, 2019, by Abdullahi Sankara.

Others are: National Land Drainage bill, 2019, by Mohammed Musa; Electronic Transactions bill, 2019, by Ibikunle Amosun; Federal College of Education Marama, Borno State (Est.) bill, 2019, by Ali Ndume; Federal University of Agriculture and Technology Oke-Ogun, Oyo State (Est.) bill, 2019, by Abdulfatai Buhari; Federal College of Crop Science and Food Technology Lere, Kaduna State (Est.) bill, 2019, by Suleiman Kwari; and South East Development Commission (Est.) bill, 2019, by Stella Oduah.


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