The House of Representatives passed a second reading bill, seeking for the establishment of South-South geopolitical zone commission, with debate.
The bill, which was sponsored by Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante was first to be read on the floor of the House for the first time on December 19, 2019.
The bill seeks to establish a South-South Development Commission charged with the responsibility to receive and manage funds from the federation account allocation and other sources, donations, grants, aids for the integration, development, resolution of infrastructural deficit, militancy, communal crisis as well and tackle ecological and environmental problems.
Presenting the general principles of the bill, the sponsor stated that it was crystal clear now that the NDDC which was supposedly a development commission for the South-South was not created for region, but for all oil-producing states in the country.
He said the bill seeks to establish the South-South Development Commission(SSDC) to serve as the springboard for the engagement, integration, and development of the South-South region.
“It is also aimed at resolving issues of infrastructural deficit, militancy, communal crises as well as the ecological problems and (any) other related environmental or developmental challenges in the region.
Abiante reasoned that the North East Development Commission was in place and functioning, the bill for the establishment of the South West Development Commission had scaled second reading, while the bills for the establishment of other Zonal Development Commissions were also in the works at various stages.
The lawmaker noted that many may be asking why the South-South Development Commission was needed at this point in time when there is a Niger Delta Development Commission in place.
According to him: “The answer is not far-fetched. It is instructive to point out that the Niger Delta Development Commission created by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000 merely replaced the OMPADEC (Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission).
“It was for the development of oil-producing areas or better still communities, which include areas and communities from States in the South East (Abia & Imo) and South West (Ondo) and most recently Lagos (where oil was discovered in 2016).
“It is expected that members of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will expand as oil exploration and commercial finds continue in the country. Presently, states like Lagos (South West) and Anambra (South East) are agitating and rightly too to be included in the Commission on the claims of having become oil-producing.”
The bill was passed at the plenary presided over by Speaker Gbajabiamila without opposition.