Senate passes North East Development Commission bill

By Edwin Akwueh, Abuja.

Nigerian Senate Chamber

The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill seeking to establish the North East Development Commission, NEDC, after an amendment that includes Kano and Plateau States as beneficiaries of the fund to rebuild the zone affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

According to the bill, major sources of funding for the commission will come from three percent of value added tax, VAT, drawn from the federation account, and 15% of mining fees generated from the States that make up the zone.

It also provides that the activities of the NEDC would last for a period of 10 years, during which the rehabilitation, reconstruction and tackling of environmentally related issues in the affected zone would have been completed.

Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki who presided over Thursday’s plenary, expressed optimism that the proposed commission would facilitate the restoration of full scale socio-economic activities within the zone.

Non-Career Ambassadors
In another development, the Senate in Thursday’s plenary received the request of President Muhammadu Buhari to confirm 46 non-career Ambassadorial nominees, representing at least a state of the federation.

An analysis of the list shows that Lagos State has the highest number of nominees with three, while Bauch, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kwara, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto and Zamfara States have two nominees each. The other states have one nominee each except the Federal Capital Territory.

According to President Muhammadu Buhari, this second batch completes the list of Ambassadors-designate. He has earlier submitted list of Career Ambassadors for the confirmation of the Senate.

Among the Ambassadorial nominees are ”Dr. (Mrs.) Uzoma Emenike, Abia, Dr. Clifford Zirra, Adamawa, Maj. Gen. Godwin G. Umo, Rtd, Akwa Ibom, Christopher J. N. Okeke, Anambra, Yusuf Tuggar, Bauchi, Baba Madugu, Bauchi, Brig. Gen. Stanley Diriyai, Bayelsa, Dr. Enyantu Ifenne, Benue, Mohammed Hayatudeen, Borno, Dr. Etubom N. E. Asuquo, Cross River and Engr. Francis Efeduma. Delta.

Others are Mr. Jonah M. Odo, Ebonyi, Uyagwe Igbe, Edo, Ayodele L. Ayodeji, Ekiti, Maj. Gen. Chris Eze, Enugu, Alh. Suleiman Hassan, Gombe, Amin Muhammad Dalhatu, Jigawa, Muhammad Yaro, Kaduna, Deborah S. Ilya, Kaduna, Prof. D. Andulkadir, Kano, Alh. Haruna Ungogo, Kano and Justice Isa Dodo, Katsina.

Also submitted for confirmation for the Senate are Dr. Usman Bugaje, Katsina, Prof. Tijani Bande, Kebbi, Prof. Y. O. Aliu, Kogi, Nuruddeen Mohammed, Kwara, Prof. Mohammed G Yisa, Kwara, Justice George Adesola Oguntade, Lagos, Sen. O. Mamora, Lagos, Mrs. Modupe Irele, Lagos, Musa llu Muhammed, Nassarawa, Mohammed Ibeto, Niger, Mr. Ade Asekun, Ogun, Barrister Sola lji, Ondo and Adegboyega A. Ogunwusi, Osun.

The names of Maj. Gen. Ashimiyu A. Olaniyi, Rtd, Oyo, Pauline Talin, Plateau, Dr. Haruna Bawa Abdullahi, Plateau. Orji Ngofa, Rivers, Justice Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor, Rivers, Jamilia Ahmadu-Suka, Sokoto, Hon. Kabiru Umar, Sokoto, Alh. Mustapha Jaji, Taraba, Goni Modu Zanna Bura, Yobe, Alh. Garba Gajam, Zamfara and Cpt. Abdullahi Uba Garbassi, Zamfara.”

Appointment of Justices
Also during the same plenary, the Senate considered the request of the President for the confirmation of the nominees for appointment as justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in accordance with section 231(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

The Justices are Hon. Justice Sidi Dauda Baqe representing North Central Zone and Hon. Justice Paul Adamu Galinje representing the North East. The correspondence was referred to the Committee on Justice, Legal Matters and Human Right.

Meanwhile, the senate has thrown its weight behind the Nigerian Government’s move to intervene in the current challenges affecting the aviation industry, pointing out that the efforts will save Nigerian travellers from greater hardship.

In a motion on the disturbing developments in the Aviation industry sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye, the Senate urged the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria to denominate all charges in local currency for airline operators in Nigeria.