Finally, South East Development Bill goes through in Senate


South East Development
The rejected bill seeking for the development of South East commission has scaled through second reading in the Senate.

This comes 24hrs after Northern groups issued Oct 1st as deadline for Igbos to vacate the region.

The bill which was read by one of its sponsors, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, however, was not debated on the floor, following an appeal by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who pleaded that it should be passed in the spirit of fairness and justice, - Dailysun report.

When Senate President, Bukola Saraki, subjected it to a voice vote, lawmakers gave a resounding ‘aye’ and was, thereafter, referred to the Committee on Establishment for legislative consideration.

The next phase is a public hearing where stakeholders and government officials are expected to make inputs before it will be passed into law.

Saraki, speaking afterwards, said: “The unity of a nation goes beyond a bill; I want us all to see it as a responsibility to ensure the unity of this country. We all have a role to play; by doing this as a Senate, we’ve demonstrated readiness to look at the pros and cons of issues. But, I think the issues go beyond just this bill.

“Distinguished colleagues, as some celebrate this, we have to do more work. There are people who we are leading and we must go back and play our roles in uniting this country. Having Commissions all over the country might not bring the results we need.”

Regardless, it was a moment of joy and relief for the South East Caucus of the House of Representatives, contrary to the facts that a similar bill was rejected in the House and with yesterday’s second reading of the same bill in the Senate, the caucus was full of kind words for Senators.

Caucus Chairman, Chukwuka Onyema led other members to the Red Chambers to witness the consideration of the SEDC bill.  Members sat in the gallery and immediately celebrated the second reading on the floor of the Senate, with some of them exchanging hugs and handshakes. A member of the caucus and chairman of the Committee on Health Services, Chike John Okafor, said Senate restored his faith in Nigeria by passing the bill.

“I am happy it (bill) scaled through in the Senate and I am also not happy that the House, where I sit, couldn’t pass the same bill. What happened today showed the beauty of bi-camera legislature which we are practicing. If we had a one-chamber legislature, the rejection by the House would have been the end of that important bill,” Okafor said

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