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Bill To Amend NDDC Act Scales Second Reading Amid Intense Debate By Senators

Soonest Nathaniel  
Updated November 10, 2021
A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

 

There was a robust debate in the Senate on Wednesday just before a bill to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act 2000 passed the second reading on the floor of the hallowed chamber.

The bill which seeks to include in the NDDC, states which have recently attained oil producing status, was sponsored by Senator Solomon Olamilekan.

In his contribution to the debate on the bill, Senator Olamilekan was of the opinion that following the discovery of oil in Bauchi, Lagos, and Ogun, the states have officially joined the league of oil-producing states.

According to him, by virtue of this discovery, the three states aforementioned are entitled to the 13 per cent derivation due to them according to the provision of Section 162 Sub-Section 2 of the Nigerian Constitution.

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While many agreed with the lawmaker, there were some who did not support the amendment of the NDDC Act.

One of them was Senator George Sekibo who questioned the quantity of oil discovered in the states to be included in the NDDC, wondering if the quantity was enough to be refined and sold to benefit the country.

Similarly, Senator Matthew Urhogide argued that the name of the commission was specific in identifying the states which should be under the commission.

While he admitted that non-Niger Delta states could benefit from the 13 per cent derivation, the lawmaker described the move to include them in the commission as a mockery of the original idea for setting up NDDC.

The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo Agege, who was also strongly against the bill, accused Senator Olamilekan of being a meddlesome interloper.

According to Omo-Agege, Senator Olamilekan should pursue the development of the South West Development Commission and not an amendment of the NDDC Act.