The Senators from the South-East, under the aegis of South-East senators caucus, on Wednesday described the passage of the South East Development Commission bill in the Senate as historic and a triumph over the long marginalisation of the geopolitical zone.
Leader of the caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who was flanked by others at a press briefing, explained that the bill would mitigate the sufferings occasioned by civil war between 1967 to 1970.
The caucus appreciated the 8th Senate for their understanding when the bill was presented by Senator Stella Oduah representing Anambra North Senatorial district and Samuel Anyanwu representing Imo East.
Abaribe said Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central Senatorial district, further espoused reasons for passing the bill on the floor of the Senate, a situation he said, made it possible without hitches.
“We appreciate the 8th Senate for passing the South East Development Commission bill into law and as noted by one of our colleagues, the Commission would mitigate the sufferings occasioned by the civil war between 1967 to 1970,” the caucus said.
The group expressed optimism that the lower chamber would do the concurrence, while urging President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the bill.
“We urge the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to sign the bill into law
“We are optimistic that the House of Representatives would do the concurrence of the bill.”
The Bill was sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah representing Anambra North Senatorial district and Samuel Anyanwu representing Imo East Senatorial District.
Co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Oduah was not available as at the time of this report to further speak on the Bill.
The Senate Wednesday passed the South East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2018, coming after it failed third reading at the Federal House of Representatives.
The proposed commission aims at enhancing the infrastructural development of the South East zone, which is grappling with huge ecological challenges.
It also seeks to act as a catalyst for the development of the commercial potential of the zone.
The proposed legislation requires the concurrence of the House of Representatives to become a bill of the National Assembly, and the president’s assent to become a law.
Senators Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) and Samuel Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) jointly sponsored the bill read in the Senate on June 22, 2016.
Its passage in the Red Chamber followed the presentation of the report of the Committee on Establishment and Public Service by its former Chairman, Sen. Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa), on the floor of the Senate.
The bill, after Paulker’s presentation, was considered clause by clause by the committee of the whole, and amendments made by the lawmakers were read for the third time and eventually passed.
In his remarks, presiding Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, commended his colleagues for a job well done.
In his words, “Every morning we pray that God should give us the grace to do only those things that will promote the peace and unity of this country.
“I believe that we have shown today that we are committed to the unity of this country, and it is this unity that will give us faith in this country.
“This faith will in turn help us to pursue peace and progress,” he said.
Briefing newsmen after plenary, members the South East caucus of the Senate, led by Sen. Enhinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia), thanked their colleagues and members of the committee for their efforts.
Abaribe, who spoke on behalf of the caucus, urged the President to sign the bill into law “as soon as we tidy it up and bring to him, in the interest of the unity and progress of Nigeria”.
“This will put to rest the long-drawn agitation in the South East, and the difficulties in the rehabilitation and reconciliation efforts that started at the end of the civil war.
“All things we see always will end up at the negotiating table, which is what we have done,” he said.
The lawmaker said he hoped the House of Representatives would give concurrence to the bill as it went in the Senate.
When established, the South East Development Commission would be the third zonal interventionist body in the country.
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