Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Disagreement, Tuesday, broke out among senators from the North-East zone, on the floor of the Senate, over where headquarters of the proposed North-East Development Commission (NEDC) would be located, thereby stalling the final consideration of the Bill.
This was even as the clause recommending 5 percent of total revenue made from Value Added Tax (VAT) of the federation, as its source of funding, was kicked against by many of the senators.
Though the joint committee that worked on the bill did not indicate in its report on where the headquarters of the proposed Commission should be cited as presented by its Chairman, Senator Abdulazeez Nyako.
Disagreement, however, ensued among the senators from the zone when Senator Aliyu Wakili submitted that Bauchi should be made the headquarters of the Commission.
“Since the report presented to us on this proposed Commission by the joint committee saddled with the responsibility of working on its bill did not indicate where the Commission’s headquarters should be cited, I most humbly recommend Bauchi for that purpose,” he said.
This submission prompted other senators from the zone to recommend their state capitals for the Commission’s headquarters as well.
While the Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, and Senator Abubakar Garbai recommended Maiduguri, Senator Bayero Usman Nafada argued for Gombe.
According to Nafada, Gombe is the centre of the entire zone.
This development that made the Senate to stand down the bill based on the argument of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
According to Ekweremadu, consensus on where the headquarters of the proposed Commission would be located must be arrived at by the concerned federal lawmakers from the zone before the Senate can give its final passage aside amending the clause that makes provision for its funding as 5% of VAT revenue recommended, is somehow high.
Accordingly, the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, set up a six-man ad-hoc committee to work on the two contentious issues in the bill and report back to the Senate in four weeks’ time.
The Committee, which is to be headed by Senator Sam Egwu, has Senator Tayo Alasoadura, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, Senator Murtala Nyako, Senator Aliyu Wammako and Senator Dino Melaye as members.