When the South East
Development Commission
Bill (SEDC) was recently
presented before the House
of Representatives, it
brought a glimmer of hope
to the people of the region,
who, over the years, feel
marginalised and shortchanged
in the scheme of
things.
They believed that the
perceived marginalisation of
the region and its attendant
agitation and unrest would
be addressed if the Bill was
passed.
Regrettably, the Bill, which
was intended to harness the
potential of the South East,
was thrown out in the lower
house.
Nonetheless, the Bill,
being a well-meaning
piece, resurfaced in the
Senate six days after it was
rejected in the House of
Representatives.
The Bill, which was
co-sponsored by the
Chairman, Senate
Committee Cooperation

and Integration, Stella Oduah
(PDP, Anambra North), passed
through First Reading in
June 2017 and scaled through
Second Reading in July.
When passed and signed
into law, the bill is expected
to provide road map for
development of roads,
education, health facilities,
industrialisation, agriculture,
housing and urban
development, water supply,
electricity and commerce in
the five member states of
Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi
and Abia.
More so, the commission will
provide policies and guidelines
for the development of the
South East, conception of plans
for development in accordance
with set rule as well as produce
regulations, programmes
and projects for sustainable
development of the region.
Also, it is expected to provide
master plan for reduction of
unemployment while also
providing the master plan
and schemes to promote the
physical development of the
South East.
Another content of the bill
include: tackling ecological

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and environmental problems
that arise from soil erosion
problems and other related
environmental challenges in
the South-East and advise
the Federal Government
and member states on the
prevention and control of the
erosion and environmental
challenges.
It will also identify
factors inhibiting the
development of the South-
East and assist member
states on the formulation and
implementation of policies
to ensure sound and efficient
management of the resources
of the region.
The bill also indicates that
the management board of
the commission shall consist
of the chairman and one
representative each from Abia,
Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu
and Imo States as well as
representatives of Federal
Ministry of Finance and the
Ministry of Justice.
According to the proposal,
a member of the board of the
commission shall hold office
for four years and can have
his appointment renewed for
another four years.

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Section 1(4) of the bill
provides the leeway for the
Commission to only exist
for 10 years after which the
President can wind it up by
seeking the approval of the
National Assembly.
The Section reads: “The
President may subject to the
approval of the National
Assembly wind-up the
Commission after 10 years.”
In her lead debate, Sen.
Oduah submitted that the
Bill sought to address the
infrastructural deficit of the
South East and act as a catalyst
to develop the commercial
potentials of the region.
Oduah, who recently said
that the South eastern part
of the country required a
minimum of three container
ports to boost the economic
growth of the country,
regretted that the region had
contributed immensely of to
the overall of Nigeria yet the
Federal Government was not
doing enough for the region.
“ What the region requires
now from the rest of the
country is support and
understanding and this will
help to engender a sense of

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belonging to the Nigeria
project.
“The Senate is in the right
position to show maturity
in the face of the plethora
of problems and challenges
facing the geopolitical zone.
“Nigeria has abundant
capacity to beam a
sympathetic focus to begin
to address these issues in a
more holistic and systematic
manner.
“The public works projects
to be executed by this
Commission will engage
the youths in a more serious
fashion and help to develop
needed human capital in
both the public and private
sectors.
“This will also curb the
cases of kidnapping and
other criminal activities that
create a security situation not
conducive for growth and
development. The peaceful
co-existence of the Nigerian
state will be enhanced with
the establishment of the
Commission,” she said.


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