ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja
Senate yesterday rejected proposal to include of Anambra state into oil producing states as bill was stepped down in the Senate.
Senator had presented a bill for an Act to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act 2011 to include Anambra State.
The bill which seeks to amend the NDDC Act CAP N86 LFN 2011 passed First Reading at the Upper Chamber on October 22, 2014.
Leading debate on the bill, Senator Andy Uba explained that the bill seeks to include Anambra State as one of the member states that make up the NDDC.
He hinted that when passed, Anambra State would join the league of oil-producing states of: Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Edo, Ondo, Imo and Abia.
He stressed that President Goodluck Jonathan had designated Anambra State as an oil-producing state while inaugurating Orient Production Facility in Aguleri-Olu on August 31, 2012.
He listed areas to be amended to include: Sections 2 (1) (b); 4 and 30 with the insertion of Anambra State.
“The inclusion of the state as a member state in the NDDC will douse the violent agitation that would have aroused from these communities for government neglect”, he submitted.
But other senators who bared their mind on the matter vehemently opposed the bill, insisting that it should not go through Second Reading.
They argued that since the matter is being contested by Kogi and Enugu States, coupled with the fact a Presidential Committee headed by Vice President NamadiSambo had been set up to resolve all contentious issues, it would be wise to step down the bill for the time being.
First to speak was Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North) who said: “It is a controversial issue and will instigate further agitations in Kogi and Enugu States. I want to call on my friend (Andy Uba) to withdraw the bill until the time is right. But if he doesn’t, I urge my colleagues to oppose it”.
AtaiAidoko (Kogi East), spoke in the same vein, explaining that should the bill pass Second Reading, “The disaster that will happen in Kogi and Enugu States will be unimaginable”.
While Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu asked that the three states of Enugu, Kogi and Anambra be include as oil-producing states in the amendment, Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central) advised that the bill be dropped in the interest of peace.
Others who spoke in the same vein include: AyoguEze (Enugu North) and Helen Esuene (Akwa-Ibom South).
Following rejection of the proposal by Senators, Uba withdrew the bill just as Senate President David Mark demanded that more facts be gotten from the Presidential Committee.