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 Boko Haram: North East Senators Push for Establishment of Development Commission

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

The Senate  on Tuesday received a Bill seeking to establish the North East Development Commission (NEDC), which will have the legal powers to receive and manage funds from the allocation of the federation account and international donors.

As proposed by the Bill, the North East zone, will receive on monthly basis, from the federation account, an equivalent of fifteen per cent of the total monthly statutory allocations due to member states of the commission, which will be the contribution of the federal government to the commission.

The eighteen senators from the north east zone, cutting across party line, jointly submitted the Bill on Tuesday before the Senate, even as they told journalists later that the Bill is aimed at rebuilding the zone, which they said is devastated by the Boko Haram insurgents.

The Chairman of the North East Senate Caucus, Danjuma Goje, who briefed journalists alongside other north east senators, said the commission when set up, will complement other agencies of government, including the state and local governments, in rebuilding the north east region devastated by boko haram insurgency.

Goje also said when the commission is fully in force, it will function like the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the north east region, just as he expressed hope that the Bill will receive expeditious passage and assent of President Mohammadu Buhari.

Meanwhile, in the Bill submitted by the senators, the commission when backed by law, will be charged with the responsibility of settling, rehabilitating, and reconstructing the roads, houses, and business premises of victims of insurgency.

It will also address the problems of poverty, illiteracy, ecological problems, and other developmental challenges and environmental crisis facing the region.

The commission, according to the Bill, will have a board which shall have a chairman, and six other members, all representing the six northeast states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe.

The Board will also comprise of three persons to represent the army, the police, and civil defence, as well as one representative of solid minerals extracting and mining producing companies in the north east states, and who shall be nominated by those companies.

There shall similarly be one person to represent each of the federal ministries of finance, education, environment, as well as one person who shall serve as Managing Director of the Commission.

However, the chairman and other members of the board shall be appointed by the President, subject to the confirmation of the Senate, in consultation with the House of Representatives.

Also, the office of the chairman established in clause 2(2) shall rotate among the member states of the commission in alphabetical order, while the board members shall hold office for a one term period of four years, and may be re-appointed for a further term of four years in maximum.

In addition to the fifteen per cent additional statutory allocation, the commission will also receive fifty percent of monies due to member states of the commission from the Ecological Fund, as well as three per cent of the total annual budget of any solid mineral extracting mining company operating in the north east states, including agricultural processing companies.

Other sources of funds for the commission are funds raised for the purposes of the commission by way of gift, loan, grants in aid, testamentary disposition, as well as such monies that may from time to time, be granted or lent to or deposited with the commission by the federal or state government, any other body or institution whether local or foreign.


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