Bill seeking to address Biafra establishment fails to get second reading

– A Bill seeking to address the Biafra issue has failed to get a second reading at the House of Representatives

– The bill failed to get its second reading because sponsors of the bill failed to be present during the debate on Wednesday, May 31

– The bill was sponsored by Chukwuka Onyema (PDP, Anambra), Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP, Abia) and Henry Nwawuba (PDP, Imo)

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 31, failed to hold a second reading of a Bill seeking to address Biafra agitation with the establishment of Development Commission for the Southeast geo-polical zone. This was due to the failure of the sponsors of the Bill to present it for second reading.

The general principles of the bill, sponsored by Chukwuka Onyema (PDP, Anambra), Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP, Abia) and Henry Nwawuba (PDP, Imo) was listed for debate Wednesday but had to be stepped down, The Nation reports.

When it was time for the bill to be debated and the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara noticed that the lead sponsor Onyema, who is also the Minority Leader was not on the floor, he asked the Chairman, Rules and Business Committee, Emmanuel Oker-Jev to step it down. At this point, voices were heard around the floor indicating that one of the sponsors, Nkem-Abonta was on ground.

The Speaker then asked Nkem-Abonta to take it. On his feet, the lawmaker stated that he could not present the bill because it was agreed between them that the Minority Leader will present it and take the lead debate.

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The bill was eventually stepped down with the leave of the House.

According to the snippets of the lead debate, the bill that seeks to establish the South East Development Commission would be charged with the responsibility among other things to receive and manage fund from allocation of the Federation Account for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads, houses and other infrastructural damages suffered by the region as a result of the effect of the civil war as well as tackle the ecological problems and any other related environmental or developmental challenges in the Southeast states.

The objectives of the Bill with the establishment of the South East Development Commission is help to tackle the infrastructure deficit in the Southeast. In a similar vein, Senator Chris Ngige who is the minister of labour and employment has called on Igbos to be strategically positioned for 2019 saying he did not endorse Igbo marginalisation.

Vanguard reported that the minister stated this in response to backlash he faced for saying Igbo people should not complain about marginalisation as they failed to give Buhari votes.

Ngige in a statement through Mr. Nwachukwu Obidiwe who is his special adviser on media saying he was misquoted as he did not in away say Igbos deserved to be marginalised.

He said: “We put all our eggs in one basket despite clear signs we shouldn’t. We should therefore not allow such ill-advised investment to repeat in subsequent elections. My position which I passed as a caution in that interview is that Ndigbo should start to strategically position themselves for 2019 and avoid a repeat of what happened in 2015.

Other zones are already strategizing and we must not be caught napping. Just as all reasonable politicians in the South East accept that we played bad politics in 2015, we should effectively put it behind us.

The resilient nature of the Igbo allows no room for self-pity. We have met greater challenges and surmounted them.”

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