By Ikenna Uwadileke
Abuja – The House of Representatives on Thursday rejected a bill seeking the establishment of South East Development Commission.
The House rejected the second reading of the bill after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
Leading the debate during plenary, Rep. Chukwuka Onyema (Anambra-PDP) said that the bill sought to tackle the menace of poverty and ecological problems confronting the South East part of the country.
He said that the bill also sought to receive and manage fund from allocation of the federation account for the development, restructure and rehabilitation of roads, houses and other infrastructure in the region.
Contributing to the debate, the House Minority Leader, Rep. Leo Ogor (Delta-PDP), said the bill would address most of the issues affecting the region.
“This country cannot continue with the situation where we come to Abuja every month to share money.
“I think every zone deserves such commission because it will make everybody look inward.
“This nation needs to be restructured, we cannot continue the way we are going,” Ogor said.
Also speaking, Rep. Sani Abdul (Bauchi-APC) said that the agitation to create the commission was as a result of government’s inability to address the socio-economic challenges in the country.
“We should look at it holistically in order not to have problems.
“We are worried, however, because the timing of the bill with the agitation for Biafra is suspicious,” Abdul said.
However, some lawmakers while opposing the bill, said the timing of was not appropriate.
Rep. Sunday Karimi (Kogi-PDP) said that some of the South-East states were already captured in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and “the creation of a South East Commission will be too much”.
Rep. Sani Zorro (Jigawa-APC) said not much consultation was done to ensure the success of the bill.
“I won’t be comfortable that at the end of the day we leave here with acrimony.
“In view of the debate we have had so far, I am of the view that the sponsors and supporters of this bill should make further consultations,’’ Zoro said.