South-South Senators Reject Inclusion Of Other Regions In NDDC

3 weeks ago 21

ABUJA – South-South senators on Wednesday kicked against plot by their col­leagues to include other regions in Niger Delta Devel­opment Commission (NDDC).

The plot by the senators, especially those from South- West, was seriously rebuffed to the extent that the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, described the sponsor of the Bill, Senator Adeola Solomon Olamilekan (Lagos West), as meddlesome interloper.

The Bill for an Act to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the inclusion of new old producing areas and states (into NDDC) and other matters connected therewith was sponsored by Senator Olamilekan.

The Bill which seeks to ac­commodate states that have attained the status of oil pro­ducing states into the NDDC was first read for the first time in the Senate on Tuesday, De­cember 17, 2019.

In his lead debate, Ol­amilekan said, “Following the discovery of oil in Bauchi, Lagos and Ogun, these states have officially joined the league of oil producing states in Ni­geria following the discovery of crude oil in Alkaleri Local Government Area, Bauchi; Badagry, Lagos, and Ipokia, Ogun State. By virtue of this, the states are entitled to the 13 percent derivation that is due to oil producing states according to the provision of section 162 sub-section 2 of the Nigerian constitution.

“The purpose of this Bill is for the Act to make provision for new states who have joined the league of oil producing states in Nigeria and for states that might eventually discov­er oil in the future as opposed to the present position of the Act which only covers oil pro­ducing states within the Niger Delta region. Furthermore, the inclusion of the new oil produc­ing states in the Act saves costs and follows precedence.

“In conclusion, this amend­ment is to accord the same pro­visions of the law among other benefits accrued to oil produc­ing states in Nigeria to the new oil producing states and future oil producing states,” Senator Adeola so submitted.

The Niger Delta lawmakers have, however, kicked against this move to include these states.

Specifically, Omo-Agege de­scribed Senator Solomon Ade­ola as a meddlesome interloper, adding, “We look forward to the day when indeed all states in Nigeria will not only produce oil but produce one form of mineral resource or the other.

“Dealing with the issue of 13 percent derivation. To us that is not an issue to the extent that they produce oil in commer­cial quantity and DPR so de­termines, that oil is been sold, and revenue is sent to the fed­eration account. That is not the issue yet. The issue is whether or not just because they are oil producing they should come under NDDC, if you are look­ing for meddlesome interlop­ers, you don’t have to go far to find one.

“What this lead debate clear­ly shows is that my colleague from Lagos is a classic med­dlesome interloper. The Niger Delta Development Commis­sion is a regional development commission. We must draw a distinction between the NDDC and the oil and mineral produc­ing commission.”

On his part, Senator Seki­bo said, “I congratulate these states where my friend said they have discovered oil. What I don’t know is that whether the oil is in commercial quantity and they are drilling them out for sales and the money going to Nigerian coffers. That one, he has not expatiated on that one.

“Are they exploring oil, are they refining oil in these places and has the oil caused any dev­astation in that environment?

“The purpose of the NDDC is not just because they found oil there, it is because the place has been so devastated and there is a need to see how they can rem­edy the place and because that place is so backward.

“Each time there is a law to support a backward people, to support people who are suffer­ing, Nigerians will come out af­ter a couple of years to dampen the strength of that law.

“There is nothing wrong that they are given their 13 percent derivation, that is if funds from those oil are now in use.”

SenatorMatthewUhroghide, who said the Bill was wrongly presented and also reminded the sponsor that what consti­tutes the NDDC today is tied to its production capacity, add­ed that “I am not particularly against the sponsor of this bill. I just believe that the bill should be properly posited.

“NDDC today is the area that constitutes Niger Delta. It is very clear. The nine states of the Niger Delta region are very clear.

“Today what each state gets from the 13 percent derivation is a function of production.

“Today, Gombe is fast becom­ing a host community, Bauchi and some other states. But to say these states belong to the Niger Delta region is not possible.

“If the idea is you want to share out of the 13 percent deri­vation, they are at will as long as they produce oil but to say they must belong to Niger Delta, it makes mockery of the idea in the creation of NDDC.”

Read Entire Article