Two bills seeking for an Act to establish North-East Development Commission to tackle developmental challenges of North East in all ramifications, and breach the gap created by non-existing legal frameworks that tackle emerging challenges in the region, yesterday scaled second reading in the Red Chamber.
The bills sponsored by the Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume and Senator Kabir Gaya (APC Kano South) were consolidated for easy passage by the upper legislative chamber.
One of them, “A Bill for an Act to Establish the North-east Development Commission in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to address the devastation caused by insurgency and other connected matters (2015) was sponsored by Senator Kabir Gaya (APC Kano South).
Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume sponsored the second tagged, “A Bill for an Act to Establish North-East Development Commission, charged with the responsibility among other things to receive and manage fund from allocation of the federation account and international donors for the settlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads, houses and business premises of victims of insurgency and for other related matters (2015)”.
“The states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa are the worst affected states in terms of human casualty, infrastructural vandalism, high rate of internally displaced persons, extreme poverty.
“The massive destruction of roads, schools, bridges, places of worship and other infrastructures, over 10.5 million out of school students have been recorded while over two million people are internally displaced across the region and other neighbouring countries,’’ he said.
Also, Senator Gaya said the current devastation by Boko Haram insurgents in the North East region has resulted to a casualty of 5 million displaced persons and about 15,000 lost lives which was the highest in the world.
He noted that these displaced persons were not only at various camps in Nigeria, but they were also in Niger Republic, Cameroon and Chad.
“Distinguished colleagues, I recall that I introduced this bill on 8th October, 2015, and I want to commend my colleagues for the expeditious consideration of the bill.
“I want to remind all that Nigeria has about 5 million internally displaced persons and over 15,000 lives lost as a result of attacks which was the highest in the world”, Gaya stated.
He added that with the high rate of internally displaced persons, Nigeria had the largest population of people displaced through conflicts in Africa.
He said in view of the level of devastation in the region, it required an urgent well planned rescue programme to rebuild the region.
“While military activities continue in the affected areas, there was an urgent need for the commission to help rehabilitate and reconstruct infrastructure in the areas”, he said.
Supporting the bill, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central) commended President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo for their willingness to rehabilitate people of the North East, stressing that if the bill was eventually passed into law, it would be assented with despatch.
Goje espoused that the bill was a legal framework that would coordinate activities of the Commission when it takes off, noting that international donor agencies, development partners will have a clear direction of where to put in their resources by way of contribution.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, commended the lawmakers for their effort in ensuring that the consolidated bill passed second reading.
Saraki said the bill, which would be referred to the Senate Committees on Establishment and Special Duties, would be expected in the Senate in four weeks for third reading.
He noted that the progress made with regard to the bill was evidence that the 8th Senate was committed to rehabilitating the North-East.

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