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Reps Reject Bill To Establish South-East Development Commission

A bill to set up the South East Development Commission (SEDC), aimed at aggregating efforts towards the development of the South East region yesterday stirred up tensions among the House of Representatives members.

While some were sharply divided over certain comments made by those who spoke in its support, others criticised it for provisions believed to be at variance with existing laws and protocols, which the country is a signatory to.

It was however thrown out by the House through a voice vote. Trouble started when the House first stepped down its consideration following the initial absence of its sponsor, Chukwuka Onyema Wilfred.

Those opposed to it had wished it was considered at that point for them to openly express their dissatisfaction with it. And they grumbled noisily, creating an atmosphere of an impending showdown.

When Wilfred walked in minutes later, Speaker Yakubu Dogara recognized the Minority Leader to move a motion of rescission to allow the sponsor introduce the bill to members.

He spoke on its essence, stressing that the commission, if set up, would help in quelling agitation in the region. He appealed for support for the initiative, allaying fears that government would fund the Commission.

The uproar that was generated shortly after the bill was discarded forced Dogara to hurriedly adjourned sitting to the next legislative day, after members of the southeast caucus of the House, led by Wilfred stormed out of the chamber.

A member of the House, Mr. Mohammed Gudaji, (APC Jigawa State), yesterday said the bill could constitute a clog in the wheel of the implementation of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) Bill yet to be assented to by the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.



Meanwhile, two Igbo leaders, Dr. Dozie Ikedife and Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, have clarified the symbolism of May 30 and September 29 every year on Igbo social calendar, stressing that there is no ambiguity or controversy about the two dates.

But speaking to The Guardian on telephone against the backdrop of the stay-at-home order by IPOB, immediate past General Secretary of Ohanaeze Nd’Igbo, Dr. Nwaorgu, explained that September 29 is set aside every year as Igbo day.

He said that day is used to remember Igbo sons and daughters massacred in cold blood during the Pogrom in 1966, stressing that the day was agreed by all Igbo citizens to immortalize those who lost their lives in the socio-political oppression of Nd’Igbo in Nigeria.

On his part, Ikedife, who is one of the elders of Biafra and a former Presidential Liaison Officer in President Shehu Shagari administration, disclosed that May 30 concerns Biafrans, noting that Biafra was greater than Nd’Igbo because it involves not just Nd’Igbo.

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