by Ajadi Daniel
A bill seeking for the establishment of North East Development Commission has been passed by the Nigerian Senate. Despite earlier discordance over funding sources and headquarters, the bill scaled through the third reading on Thursday.
For the purpose of rebuilding the North East through the proposed NEDC, the Senate approved the allocation of three percent of Value Added Tax accrual to the Federal Government in the next 10 years.
The report on the commission was laid by Murtala Nyako (APC- Adamawa), chairman of the house committee on special duties.
The Senate president in his remark after the passage of the bill said, “With this commission, I hope we can collaborate and address humanitarian crisis and challenges in the North East.”
The bill would be transferred by the Senate to the House of Representatives for concurrence before being forwarded to the President for his assent. If the bill sees the light of the day, the commission will be headquartered in Borno State, worst hit by Boko Haram terrorism.
The question is whether this bill can effectively put an end to the humanitarian crisis in this region. One would actually not deny the fact that there is a humanitarian crisis in the north east which if not addressed could complicate matters and jeopardize the war against terrorism, and if we acknowledge this, then such commission might just be the right way to go. But the usual problem in this part of the world has to do with accountability and transparency. It is not enough to table these problems and challenges and then come out with this kind of commission.
There must be laid down processes of holding such commission accountable to their mandate, especially if we are willing to speed up development in the north east thus bringing it at par with the southern states.
Let us have your opinion and discussion on this issue.