By Ikenna Uwadileke
The House of Representatives has rejected a bill seeking to establish South East Development Commission.
The house rejected the second reading of the bill after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
Leading the debate during plenary, Rep. Chukwuka Onyema (Anambra-PDP) said that the bill would seek to tackle poverty and ecological problems confronting the region.
He said that the bill also sought to receive and manage fund from the federation account for the development and rehabilitation of roads and other infrastructure in the region.
The House Minority Leader, Rep. Leo Ogor (Delta-PDP), said the bill will address most of the issues affecting the region.
“This country cannot continue with the situation where we come to Abuja every month to share money. I think every zone deserves such commission because it will make everybody look inward.
“This nation needs to be restructured, we cannot continue the way we are going,” Ogor said.
Rep. Sani Abdul (Bauchi-APC), said that the agitation to create the commission was as a result of government’s inability to address the socio economic challenges in the country.
“We should look at it holistically in order not to have problems.We are worried, however, because the timing of the bill with the agitation for Biafra is suspicious,” Abdul said.
However, some lawmakers while opposing the bill, said the timing was not appropriate.
Rep. Sunday Karimi (Kogi-PDP) said that some of the South-East states were already captured in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) “and the creation of a South East Commission will be too much”.
Rep. Sani Zorro (Adamawa-APC) said not much consultation was done to ensure the success of the bill.
“I won’t be comfortable that at the end of the day we leave here with acrimony.
“In view of the debate we have had so far, I am of the view that the sponsors and supporters of this bill should make further consultations,’’ Zorro said.