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Bill seeking to include Bauchi, Kogi, other in NDDC scales second reading

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A bill seeking to include Bauchi, Kogi and Lagos states as part of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has passed the second reading at the senate.

In recent years, crude oil deposits were discovered in Bauchi, Kogi, Sokoto and Lagos.

While leading a debate on the bill seeking to amend the NDDC act on Wednesday, Solomon Olamilekan, senator representing Lagos west, said states where crude oil has been discovered should be accorded their “rightful status”.

Olamilekan said the states should also enjoy the 13 percent derivation that other oil-producing states enjoy.

“[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,” the senator said.

Contributing to the debate, Matthew Urhoghide, senator representing Edo south, said bringing non-Niger Delta states into the commission will make a mockery of the NDDC.

“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 produce oil does not make them part of the Niger Delta,” Urhoghide said.

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

Expressing concerns, Ovie Omo-Agege, deputy senate president, said Olamilekan, sponsor of the bill, is 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 percent derivation is not an issue. But the issue is whether or not they should come under the NDDC,” 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.”

On his part, Bala Na’Allah, senator representing Kebbi south, said a new organisation should be created to take care of the 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,” Na’Allah said.

“A certain fund should be established to address the challenges of these new areas where oil is found.”

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