Although the clamour for development of the North East zone has been intense, Senators from the zone are not speaking with one voice on where to locate the Headquarters of the proposed North East Development Commission (NEDC) as they sang discordant tunes during debate on a bill for that purpose.
The problem, however, stalled the final consideration of the Bill on North East Development Commission during Tuesday plenary. Notwithstanding Senators in general rejected a clause in the Bill which recommended 5% of total revenue made from Value Added Tax (VAT) of the federation as a means of funding the proposed Commission. Both the executive arm of government and the National Assembly have been synergizing efforts towards rebuilding the North East zone which has been ravaged by the Boko Haram war which started since 2009.
Different countries as well as International donor agencies had at different times promised to assist the government of Nigeria with funding on the development of the troubled zone which economy has been seriously paralysed. Disagreement among Senators from the zone had ensued when Senator Aliyu Wakili (APC Bauchi South), suggested that Bauchi should be made the Headquarters of the Commission. A joint committee that worked on the bill had failed to indicate in its report where the Headquarters of the proposed commission should be cited.
The Committee’s Chairman, Senator Abdulazeez Nyako ( APC Adamawa Central) while presenting the report said, “Since the report presented to us on this proposed commission by the joint committee the bill did not indicate where the Commission’s headquarters should be cited, I most humbly recommend Bauchi for that purpose”. His submission, however, prompted other senators from the zone to recommend their state capitals for the commission’s headquarters.
While the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume ( APC Borno South) and Senator Abubakar Garbai (APC Borno Central), recommended Maiduguri, Senator Bayero Usman Nafada ( APC Gombe North) said Gombe should rather be considered being located at the Centre of entire zone. The development, therefore, prompted the senate to stand down the consideration of the Report on the advice by the Deputy Senate President, Ike EKweremadu.