Two bills presented in a public hearing session on Thursday by the House Committee on Justice has attracted commendation.
The bills were: A Bill for an Act to Establish the South-South Development Commission and A Bill for an Act to Establish the South-West Development Commission.
Stakeholders including the Nigeria South West Governors Forum, Ogun State House of Assembly, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Stakeholders Forum, all threw their weight behind the bill.
In his remark, Rotimi Akeredolu, Chairman South-West Governors’ Forum said he is in support of the South-West Development Bill and will send his memorandum to the committee at a later date.
A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Mayowa Akinfolarin, Chairman House Committee on Federal Road Safety Commission represented the governor.
On his part, Air Commodore (rtd) Idongesit Nkanga, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF, National Chairman and former Military Governor, Akwa Ibom State, said “the need for the rapid and equitable socioeconomic development of the country cannot be overstated.
“It is significant to note that other zones in the country are also proposing similar commissions. As at today, the North East Development Commission is in place and functioning, the bill for the establishment of the South West Development Commission has scaled second reading , while bills dorbthe establishment of other Zonal Development Commissions are also in the works at various stages.” Sponsors of the bill should be commended for these reasons, he said.
Bill for an Act to Establish the South-South Development Commission, listed ten (10) recommendations.
Also, the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Stakeholders Forum (OMPSTAFOR), National Coordinator, Prince Maikpobi Okareme said there is a continuous obligation on the part of the federal government “that currently has the exclusive control of oil mineral matters to make special provisions for the development of all the communities hosting Oil and Gas resources.”
He therefore commended the National Assembly for conceptualising the establishment of six Development Commissions.
The Ogun State House of Assembly, represented by a member, Hon (Barr.) Solomon Osho, Chairman , Committee on Justice said the State Legislature was strongly behind the bill establishing the Commission.
Osho while eulogising the proposed law said it will ensure even distribution of the Nation’s dividend of democracy across board.
“The bill will build the capacity of the Commission which will lead to Effective Performance Abandoned Projects of the office will be completed and Adequately Monitored.”
He said it will also “ensure transparency and accountability go of the fund and ensure that the fund is not diverted but directed towards solving ecological and infrastructural problems”
The Ogun lawmaker said in addition, the disbursement of the ecological fund is adequately determined by the bill and it will ensure that the Commission and by extension, the country adequately tackles its ecological challenge, including those encountered at the new frontier climate change.
The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila who was represented by the House Leader Rep.Alhassan Ado-Doguwa said: “Both of these legislative proposals are good faith efforts at using the instrument of statute to address some of the many developmental challenges.”
He said the challenges “have plagued these regions and impacted negatively on the lives and wellbeing of Nigerian citizens who are trying to make something of their lives in these parts of the country. ”
Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, Rep.Ugonna Ozurigbo observed that the bills divided into 33 and 30 clauses, took into consideration the issues of environmental degradation, destruction in ecosystem, ecological issues and infrastructural decay/destructions in these zones and attempted to proffer remedial measures among others.
He assured that the Committee will be “fair, objective, neutral and critical in analyzing all the memoranda presented by the stakeholders shall be thoroughly assessed with a view of harmonizing same with the proposals before the committee such that in the end, the outcome of our collective efforts will be a true reflection of “our general aspiration and in the best interest of the generality of the persons and the zones where these documents are expected to be operational.”