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Bill to include Bauchi, Kogi, Lagos in NDDC scales second reading

Senate chamber

If all goes according to plan, Bauchi, Kogi and Lagos states may soon be included as part of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), as a bill seeking to do so, yesterday, passed the second reading at the Senate.

This means that the states will also enjoy the 13% derivation that is currently being enjoyed by other oil-producing states in Nigeria.

The move follows the discovery of crude oil deposits in Bauchi, Kogi, Sokoto and Lagos in recent years.

However, some senators from the South-south region are not comfortable with this development, arguing that it will distort the objectives of the NDDC.

Specifically, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, (Edo South), argued that bringing non-Niger Delta states into the Commission will make a mockery of the NDDC.

We look forward to the day that all states produce oil or one form of mineral resource or the other. The 13% derivation is not an issue. But the issue is whether or not they should come under the NDDC.

He said: “I’m not against recognising these states as oil-producing states. But the nine states that make up the Niger Delta region are very clear; because they (new states) produce oil does not make them part of the Niger Delta.

“They are free to gain from the 13% derivation. There should be a line… but bringing Bauchi as part of the NDDC will make a mockery of what it stands for.”

Expressing similar sentiments, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, said: “This bill shows that the sponsor is a meddlesome interloper. Lagos is not the Niger Delta. As we speak, we have an issue with Ondo being recognised as Niger Delta.”

He described the sponsor of the bill, Senator Solomon Olamilekan, as a “meddlesome interloper”.

“We look forward to the day that all states produce oil or one form of mineral resource or the other. The 13% derivation is not an issue. But the issue is whether or not they should come under the NDDC,” Omo-Agege maintained.

Earlier, leading the debate on the bill seeking to amend the NDDC Act on Wednesday, Olamilekan, (Lagos West), had insisted that states where crude oil has been discovered should be accorded their “rightful status”.

“The NDDC law should be amended to include states that have attained oil-producing status. Bauchi, Lagos and Kogi are entitled to 13 percent derivation,” he urged.

Agreeing with his South-south peers, Senator Bala Na’Allah, (Kebbi South), instead suggested that a new organisation should be created to take care of the new areas where oil is being discovered.

“The fact that we have discovered oil in Lagos, Ogun, Bauchi and equally Sokoto… My concern is that this is genuine. A certain fund should be established to address the challenges of these new areas where oil is found,” Na’Allah said.

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