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North East Senators Divided Over Location of Development Commission Headquarters


Ayodele Afolabi , Abuja

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Disagreement among Senators from the North East Zone over where the Headquarters of the proposed North East Development Commission (NEDC) should be located, stalled the final consideration of its bill on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday.

Senators also disagreed with the clause recommending 5 per cent of total revenue made from Value Added Tax (VAT) of the Federation as its source of funding was kicked against by many of the senior lawmakers.

Though the joint committee that worked on the bill did not indicate in its report on where the Headquarters of the proposed Commission should be sited as presented by its Chairman, Senator Abdulazeez Nyako (APC Adamawa Central) but disagreement ensued among Senators from the zone when Senator Aliyu Wakili (APC Bauchi South) submitted that Bauchi should be made the Headquarters of the commission.

“Since the report presented to us on this proposed Commission by the joint committee saddled with responsibility of working on its bill did not indicate where the Commission’s headquarters should be sited, I most humbly recommend Bauchi for that purpose”, he said.

A submission that prompted other Senators from the zone to recommend their State capitals for the commission’s headquarters as well.

While the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume (APC Borno South) and Senator Abubakar Garbai (APC Borno Central), recommended Maiduguri, Senator Bayero Usman Nafada ( APC Gombe North) argued for Gombe his State capital which according to him, is the Centre of entire zone.

The controversy made the Senate to stand down the bill based on Deputy Senate President, Ike EKweremadu, argument to that effect.

According to him, consensus on where the headquarters of the proposed commission would be located must be arrived at by concerned Federal lawmakers from the zone before Senate could give it final passage aside amending the clause that makes provision for its funding as 5 per cent of VAT revenue recommended, which he submitted was somehow high.

Accordingly, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, set up a six man ad- hoc committee to work on the two contentious issues in the bill and report back to it in four weeks time.

The Committee which is to be headed by Senator Sam Egwu (PDP Ebonyi North) has Senators Tayo Alasoadura (APC Ondo Central), Emmanuel Paulker (PDP Bayelsa Central), Murtala Nyako (APC Adamawa Central), Aliyu Wammako (APC Sokoto North) and Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West) as members.

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