By Emmanuel Folarin, Abuja
The Senate on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to make adequate financial provision in the 2018 Budget for the take-off of the North East Development Commission (NEDC).
The Senate also affirmed its commitment to the implementation of the NEDC Act following the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari on 26th October, 2017, to the NEDC Bill passed by the National Assembly.
The signing of the Bill into law marks the establishment and take-off of the NEDC.
Commenting on a motion raised at the plenary, Bukola Saraki, Senate President said the signing into law of the NEDC Bill “marks a significant development in our country’s humanitarian and development response to the crisis in the North-East region.”
He said “Through the establishment of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC), resources from the Federal Government and international donors will be coordinated and disbursed to meet the relief, recovery and developmental needs for a region in desperate need of stability.”
Saraki decried the devastating impact of the conflict on the public infrastructure and on the lives of millions of Nigerians in the North-East.
“According to the Borno State Ministry of Relief, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, in Borno State alone, over 950,000 houses, approximately 660 municipal buildings, and around 700 power distribution stations were destroyed during the insurgency.” Another “over 5,000 schools, 200 health facilities and 1,600 water supply sources were also razed.
“With such dire statistics, it is vital for the NEDC to coordinate the planning of federal and state authorities to begin the work of transitioning from humanitarian response to recovery activities. These programmes must also include support to revive the livelihoods of the local populations.” He said
He expressed confidence that standing up for the NEDC will go a long way towards augmenting civilian-military relations. “The military has greatly improved the security situation in the region and has created an enabling environment for stability and growing rehabilitation,” he said.
“We must all keep in mind that the creation of funding of the NEDC alone will not resolve all of the issues in the North-East. However, it must build and represent a better level of governance than what existed before.”
He thanked the Senators from the North-East states who sponsored the motion, saying, “They honourably represent the thousands of communities and millions of people whose properties have been destroyed and whose lives have been disrupted” as a result of the crisis. “We can never forget the terrible price these Nigerians have paid just to live in their homeland.”
Affirming commitment to defend, protect and rehabilitate all territory and people within Nigeria’s national borders, the Senate also called on Donor Agencies’ to continue their support for the North-East through the newly established Commission.