Senate’s Rejection of Anambra’s Bid to Join NDDC Unsettles Ohanaeze

The youth wing of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide has expressed dismay over Nigerian Senate’s rejection of bill seeking to include Anambra State as one of the member states of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The Senate had on Tuesday, thrown out the bill, saying that Anambra was not part of the Niger Delta region, which is the reason for the establishment of the interventionist agency. 

President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio quashed the bill after the lead debate on the bill for an Act to amend the Niger Delta Development (Establishment Etc.) Act N 86 LFN 2004 to include Anambra State as one of the Member States (SB 271) as sponsored by Senator Tony Nwoye, Labour Party Senator representing Anambra North.

According to Akpabio, the NDDC was created to address the environmental degradation in the region following the oil exploration activities in the zone, adding that although Anambra is now among the oil-producing states and is getting 13% derivation from the Federation, it cannot be added to the NDDC against the backdrop that it goes contrary to the purpose for which the agency was established. 

But in a reaction on Thursday, the acting Youth leader of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Mazi Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu, described the Senate’s disposition as part of the strategic steps to keep the Southeast region under marginalization.

He argued that if environmental degradation following oil exploration, was the reason for inclusion in the Commission, then Anambra should be included, since parts of the state where the natural deposit is explored will suffer the same environmental impact.

While dismissing the argument that Anambra is not in the Niger Delta region, the Igbo Youth leader maintained that there was no big deal in including Anambra in the NDDC since the state borders most of the states included in the Commission.

He said, “What we are saying is that Anambra has met all the requirements to be included in the NDDC. The 13% derivation which makes the state an oil-producing once has started coming since 2022.

“There is also the proximity between Anambra and NDDC member-states and host communities where the natural resources are deposited will definitely suffer the same impact, from exploration.

“What then is the rationale behind throwing out the Bill, if not to continue the systematic deprivation of the Southeast region?

“The benefits for Anambra if it is included in the NDDC are much and the people are expectant. So, the Senate should endeavour to do the right things.”

Okpalaezeukwu further argued that if the Senate would not grant Anambra’s bid for inclusion in the NDDC, it should expedite action on the establishment of Southeast Development Commission, within the shortest possible time.

According to him, the Commission, if established, will begin efforts at righting a lot of wrongs in the South East.

“We cannot as a country, claim that the marginalization of the Southeast region is not happening. In the entire Southeast, there is no single blue line, No Federal Government Project.

“Till date, the Southeast has only five states, whereas some other regions have as much as seven states. This breeds inequality in the distribution of democratic dividends among the people.

“These are low hanging fruits which the establishment of the Southeast Development Commission will get for South East, before we look at the bigger picture,” he bemoaned.

Okpalaezeukwu reassured people of the zone that no stone would be left unturned in ensuring absolute stability and development of Ala-Igbo.

“Igbo youths are committed to the pursuit of the welfare and wellbeing of the Igbo nation in line with the manifesto of the National Leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide passionately led by Chief Engr Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu OFR, CFR, MFR (Ahaejiagamba Ndigbo),” he stressed.

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