The two chambers of National Assembly namely Senate and House of Representatives were today 9th of May 2016, declared open public hearing on Bill for an ACT seeking to establish North East Development Commission (NEDC). (SB. 163). By the Senate president Senator Bukola saraki and The Speaker of House of Reps. Hon. Yakubu Dongara respectively.
The Bill Captioned thus; ON A BILL FOR AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE NORTH EAST DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (SB. 163). The chairmen on the public hearing on the above subject were the senator. Abdul-Aziz Murtala Nyako while that of the House of Representatives were chaired by Hon. Muhammad Sani Soro who is also the house committee chairman on Internally Displayed persons (IDP). The bill highlighted the importance if being passed into law.
The Bill were chaired by the senate committee
on Special Duties and Public Service On
The North East Development Commission. Bill, 2015(SB.163)
The Senate Public hearing on subject matters.
Apart from the chairman of the senate committee on the bill seeking for an Act for establishment of North East Development Commission, those in attendance were. Senator Massi Binta Garba, Senator. Abdul-Aziz Murtala Nyako. senator. Ali Ndume, Senator. Ahmad lawan, Senator. Goje Danjuma Ibrahim. Senator. Binta Massi Garba. Sen. Bayero Nafada. Senator. Suleiman Nazif. Etc.
The smerits of the bill thus read by the Chairman. Senator Abdul-Aziz murtala Nyako as follow;
‘’It will provide the legal frame work towards addressing the problems of insurgency and other matters of the North East Zone. (NEZ).’’
‘’It has a medium to long-term period of existence for the actualization of its mandate after which it would seize to exist. This is unlike a committee, which is just an ad hoc arraignment”
‘’The North East Development Commission (NSDC) would enable medium and long term planning and execution of programs of sNorth East Zone. (NEZ) stabilization and Development master plan.
‘’ The NEDC ACT would enable the National Assembly to appropriate funds to the commission and to subsequently carryout oversight functions.’’
Among the senate committee members who spooked to our newsmen were the Senator. Binta Massi Garba highlighted the problems faced by the North East zone. her words.
‘’It will be recalled that the North East zone have been declared by the United Nation Development Program(UNDP) to be most impoverished states in the sub-Sahara Africa countries judging by its human development index in terms of health, education, electricity consumption, water, infrastructure and poverty, the zone is sadly the worst.’’
Also, the presidential projects Assessment committee set up by president. Goodluck Jonathan to assess on-going projects of the federal government found out that it is largest in the south-south zone with 1,755 projects amounting to N2.1 trillion, followed by the North-Central zone with 1,844projects in the sum of N630 billion and the least in the North-East zone with 466 projects amounting to N98 billion. These clearly illustrate the historical neglect of the zone by successive administrations.
‘’It will be recalled that the North East zone
have been declared by the United Nation Development Program(UNDP)
to be most impoverished states in the sub-Sahara Africa countries
judging by its human development index in terms of
health, education, electricity consumption, water, infrastructure and poverty,
the zone is sadly the worst.’’
These reasons were early case of insurgency and terrorism. The second justification for the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) is the obvious impact of insurgency and terrorism. The devastating impact of the insurgency and terrorism is well documented and familiar to most people. A recent assessment of the situation by the European Union, the World Bank and the United Nation Development Program concluded that it would require $9 billion to restore normalcy in the zone.
But the committees were on the view that the assessment did not capture the full picture of the situation. According to the chairman senate committee on special duties and public service who also the chairman senate joint committee on the bill for an Act for establishment of North East Developmental Commission. senator Abdul-Aziz Murtala Nyako in his words, ‘’The issues of loss by individuals of their livelihoods, animals, farms, monies, vehicle, stores and businesses, are irreparable. This is compounded by the opportunity cost due to lack of farming, businesses, and education etc. in the last three(3) to four( 4)years. That even if the Boko Hssaram are completely wiped out it will takes more than two thousand (2000) generation to restore the status.’’
Based on the above estimated the senators move for a bill for an Act to established the North East Development Commission. The sponsor of this bill are the; Senator. Abdul-Aziz Murtala Nyako. senator. Ali Ndume, Senator. Ahmad lawan, Senator. Goje Danjuma Ibrahim. Senator. Binta Massi Garba. Sen. Bayero Nafada. Senator. Suleiman Nazif. Senator. Abubakar Kyari. Senator.Isah Hamma Misau. Senator. Ali Wakili. Senator. Ahmadu Abubakar. Senator. Emmanuel Bwacha. Senator. Bashir Marafa. Senator. Abubakar Sani. Danladi. Senator. Mohammed Hasan. Senator Joshua lidan and Senator Baba kaka. B. Garbai.
The commission will be charged with the responsibilities of among other things to receive and manage fund from allocation of the federal Account and international donors for the settlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads, houses and business premises of victims of insurgency as well as tackling menace of poverty, literacy level, ecological problems and any other related environmental or developmental challenges in the North East states and for other related matters. ,
‘’The issues of loss by individuals of their livelihoods, animals,
farms, monies, vehicle, stores and businesses, are irreparable.
This is compounded by the opportunity cost due to lack of farming, businesses,
and education etc. in the last three(3) to four( 4)years.
That even if the Boko Haram are completely wiped out
it will takes more than two thousand (2000) generation to restore the status.’’
The North –East Zone comprises of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe. However, it were on the view of various stakeholders and participants drawn from various parts of the country that the various communities affected by the wake of insurgency should be inclusive. Among whom took out time to address this issue were a senior civil servant, Mr Hamid Ibrahim described the use of political zone as regards to North East Development commission bill is totally unnecessary as the constitution of federal Republic of Nigeria does not recognized geo-political zones that its only recognized the thirty six (36) states of federation and with its four hundred and seventy seven(477) local government including the Administration of federal Capital territory totally thirty seven (37). He rather advised the committee to replace the geo-political zones with the region as the geo-political zone name as read as North East Development Commission Bill could be challenged by any court of competent jurisdiction based on that the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria does not recognized geo-political zones.
the use of geo-political zone as regards to
North East Development commission bill
is totally unnecessary as the constitution of federal Republic of Nigeria
does not recognized geo-political zones that its
only recognized the thirty six (36) states of federation and with its
four hundred and seventy seven(477) local government including the Administration
of federal Capital territory totally thirty seven (37) states.
But as at this of this impute the committee took noticed as have been clarified on the subject matter. That essence of public hearing is to give the members of the public a platform to make an input as to what is should be in order to enable the legislative carry out this work in due diligently.
All the stakeholders were on the opinion and in agreement that North-East development Commission should be established as failure to do so will threaten the corporate existence of Nigeria and as the North East zone have the capacity to breakdown the sub-region even the central Africa zone.
The North East Development Commission (NSDC). When established will co-ordinate all ongoing political, Diplomatic, Military and Socio-economic interventions aimed at stopping the insurgency and addressing the devastation caused by the Book Haram insurgence.
Some stakeholders were on view that health and Nutrition should come under the department of health but were ruled out by the chairman of the committee senator Abdul-Aziz Murtala Nyako, reasons being it that the nutrition is separate in terms of administrative implementation policy.
Proposals: Bill for an Act for Establishment of North-East Development Commission (NSDC).
The bill is praying for the commission Governing Board headed by the a chairman whom shall be appointed by the Mr. president after due consultation with the National Assembly.; and one person each representing the Six(6) states and must be an indigene of these states namely Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe.
The security organization were captured in one of the prayers of the Bill thus; three persons to represent the following security organization- the Army who shall not be below the rank of a colonel; a police who shall not be below the rank of Superintendent of police. And the civil defense corps who shall not be below the rank of deputy commandant.
Three (3%) percent deduction on all production tax for all the solid minerals extracting company present in North East zones were advocated at the public hearing and one person should be represent the federal ministry of finance; federal ministry of education; and federal ministry of environment, federal ministry of health and federal ministry of solid minerals.
The structure proposed for the commission stands as thus; Administration and Human Resource, planning, research, statistics and management information system; Community and rural Development; Environment protection and control, utilities infrastructural development; finance and supplies and legal services and civil-military department were retained as a Bill etc.
Functions of the commission as retained as in the Bill;
The commission is to formulates policies and guidelines for the development of the North East States that is to conceive, plan and implement, in accordance with set rules and regulations, and programs for the sustainable development of the North East States in the field of transportation including roads, health, education, employment, agriculture, industrialization, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and telecommunications.
The commission when being established will promotes its physical and socio-economic development; prepare master plans and schemes designed to promotes physical development of the North East states and the estimates of the costs of implementing such master plans and schemes;
The function of North East Development Commission when established includes identifying factors inhibiting the development of the North 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 North East states;
Assess and report on any project being funded or carried out in the North East states by solid mineral extracting and mining companies, agricultural processing and any other company including non-governmental organizations an ensure that funds released for such projects are properly utilized.
The NEDC will be charge with the responsibilities of resolving all issues related to ecological and environmental problems that arises from the extraction and mining of solid minerals in the North East states and advise the federal government and the members states on the prevention and control of water and environmental pollution;
The NEDC will liaise with the various solid mineral extraction and mining companies on all matters of pollution prevention and control; and execute such other works and perform such other functions which in the opinion of the commission, are required for sustainable development of the North East states and its people.
The commission also when being established will have the power to varied contribution of each members states of the commission and the commission shall be subject to the direction, control or supervision in the performance of its functions under this Bill by the president of the federal Republic of Nigeria.
Survey shall include;
Activities of the commission as being proposed will cut across in determining/ ascertains the persons who were killed and the details of their dependents;
Detailed account of destruction and valuation of infrastructure and assets destroyed;
Requirement for rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.), institutions (schools, hospitals, palaces, homes, place of worship, etc.)
Requirements for recapitalization of businesses and empowerment schemes for poverty alleviation;
Requirement for re-activation of health, education and welfare services;
Re-orientation of youth, including modernization of ‘alma Jiri’ education conduct peace and conflict impact assessment to determine the impact of the crises or coping strategies for the peaceful co-existence including civil-society and community based organization in the zone.
Conceive and prepare a phased master plan based on the needs assessment of the zone to be known as the North East development master plan which shall contain programmes and schemes that promote and facilitate the physical and socio-economic development of the North East zone; and it shall contain estimate of the time and cost of implementing such programmes and schemes;
Coordinate in accordance with set rules and regulations, projects and programmes within the master plan for the reconstruction, rehabilitation and sustainable development of the North East zone in the area of infrastructure, human and social services including health and nutrition, education and water supply, agriculture, wealth creation and employment opportunities, urban and rural development, and poverty alleviation;
Coordinate the implementation by the federal ministries, departments and agencies of all measure approved for the development of the North East zone by the federal government;
Subject to the approval of the federal government and appropriation by the National Assembly, implement programmes and schemes contained in the master plan but not captured by federal ministries, departments and Agencies, state governments and development partners;
Identity factors inhibiting the development of the North East Zone and assist member states and other stakeholders in the formulation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the zone;
Assess and report on any project being funded or carried out in the North East Zone by any federal ministries, department and agency or company that has an agreement with the federal government; and ensure that funds released for such projects are property utilized;
Tackle ecological and environmental problems and degradation that arises from natural causes, prevention and control; and environmental disaster management.
Liaise with various industries and companies within the zone on all matters of pollution prevention and control; and environmental disaster management;
Seek human, material, technical and financial support from development partners (local/international) and Non-government organization with a view to developing the North East Zone;
Interface with development partners (local/international) and Non-Governmental Organizations to ensure synergy with other stakeholders in line with the master plan:
Coordinate such other works and perform such functions, which and perform such other functions, which in the opinion of the commission are required for the sustainable development of the North East Zones;
Coordinate the civil-military confidence building and stabilization measures and civil-military interface especially and security operations.
The committee concludes seating by appreciating all stakeholders and including the invited guest and members of the media for their painstaking time they took to support the Bill this were the words of the Chairman Senate committee on Special Duties and Public Services who also the chairman of the public hearing on the bill seeking for an Act for establishment North East Development Commission. Senator Abdul-Aziz Murtala Nyako. ‘’we appreciate your effort in making this public hearing a successive exercise and the door for more impute are welcome and we wish journey mercy back to your various destination.’’
Okorochukwu Ikechukwu (correspondent)