North-east commission set for take-off as senate approves board

OrderPaperToday – The Senate has approved nominees for the board of North East Development Commission (NEDC), following the passage of the bill in 2016.

The bill was assented to in October 2017 with the aim of rebuilding the North East region ravaged by boko haram terrorism.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on the 16th of January sent the names of the board for approval to the red chamber, nominating Paul Tarfa as the Chairman and Mohammed Alkali as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer along side nine others as members.

The members are: Musa Yashi (ED humanitarian affairs), Muhammad Jawa (ED admin and finance), Omar Mohammed (ED operation), David Kente (North-East), Asmau Mohammed (North-West), Benjamin Adanyi (North-Central), Olawale Oshun member (South-West), T. E. O Ekechi (South-East) and Obasuke McDonald (South-South).

After presentation of the report by the chairman committee on Special duties, Abdul’Aziz Nyako on Tuesday, Senator Binta Garba queried the nomination of Alkali because he is from Borno state and the commission is domiciled in the same state.

She said: “The commission is domiciled in Borno state and the CEO is also from Borno state. Is it in consonance with the ideal of the commission within and outside Nigeria. For example, the President of the United Nations is not from America. We need to get some clarifications. Late Wakili asked that the commission be in Bauchi state but he was shut down.”

Nyako explained that the House of Representatives had more votes for giving the CEO to Borno state than the Senators who did not consider zoning.

He said: “In our bill, we left it open. During the public hearings, we agreed if the Headquarters is in Borno then someone else should be the MD but in concurrence with the House of Representatives, more inclined to the MD from Borno. It was the House bill that went with zoning and their votes were overwhelming than ours.”

Also speaking on the issue is the Deputy Majority leader, Senator Ibn Na’Allah who stated that the nomination is entirely a “legislative action”.

Na’Allah explained: “The observations are valid because it relates to international organizations. Certain peculiarities demonstrate certain actions. The entire bill is associated to the beginning of insurgency in Borno state and Adamawa is close to it. In the selection, Tarfa is from Adamawa. The choice of Alkali is based on the assumption that there is quick establishment and it’s running. What swayed the Senate and reps to choose Alkali is entirely a legislative action.”

The Senate leader, Ahmad Lawan in his contribution urged the committee on special duties to ensure the immediate commencement of the commission.

“The North East requires this commission to take off immediately”, Lawan stressed.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu advised the commission not to tow in line of the NDDC currently submerged “in a lot of protocol and bureaucracy. So this commission should learn from that. The parliament should start an oversight of this agency.”

The red chamber thereafter approved all the nominees.

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