Senate’s Rejection of Anambra’s NDDC Admission continuation of civil war – ACSONET

Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET), a foremost Citizen stakeholders’ group has expressed dissatisfaction over rejection of the Bill seeking to include Anambra as one of the member States of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), describing the action as hasty and a grave injustice. 

Leader of the group, Prince Chris Azor, in a chat with newsmen, described the decision as a calculated attempt to continue the perpetual marginalization of the Southeast, a situation he described as continuation of the civil war by other means.

According to the human rights advocate “There’s no rationale for that decision, if not for primordial, sectional and oppressive interests. Pray, what makes Anambra different from other States in the Niger Delta? Anambra operates the same OML 143 with Delta State. This is the main reason the Green Chamber acted wisely by passing the Bill for second reading.”

Comrade Azor was however

 optimistic that the Bill would eventually scale through as the Senate only withdrew it for further consultations.

He implored all Anambra and Southeast Stakeholders in partnership with other well meaning Patriots to collectively work towards passage of the Bill when presented after wider consultations.

The Senate had thrown out a bill seeking to include Anambra State as one of the member States of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, saying that the State was not part of the Niger Delta region, which is the reason for the establishment of the interventionist body. 

As sponsored by Senator Tony Nwoye, LP, Anambra North, the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, explained that Anambra State is not part of the Niger Delta region. 

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. 

He said, “For the Senate to permit that Anambra be added to the Commission, other oil-producing states will also have to be added to the Commission, and that itself will go against the purpose. Instead, they can create a wider development commission that will involve all regions for the oil-producing states to be captured rather than have multiple developmental commissions.”

At this point, the President of the Senate made a voice vote that the bill be withdrawn, and it was stepped down. 

Earlier in his lead debate on the general principles of the bill, Senator Nwoye said, “Please recall that this bill passed first reading on 21, 2023. This bill seeks to amend Niger Delta Development Commission Act N 86 LFN 2004 to include Anambra State as a member of oil-producing states.

“Permit me to mention that following a decade of hard work by industry experts from Anambra State in collaboration with past administrations, Anambra State was officially recognized as a petroleum-bearing and oil-producing state on July 27, 2021, by the revenue mobilisation allocation and fiscal commission at its 139th plenary session.

“Mr President, distinguished colleagues, I respectfully submit that Anambra State has satisfied the requirements for recognition as an oil producing state. May I humbly inform my distinguished colleagues that the oil-producing Allocation and Fiscal Commission, at its 139th Plenary Session held on July 27, 2021, approved the attribution of the following 14 oil wells to Anambra State, namely Nzam 1 oil well, Anambra 1, 2, and 3 oil wells (straddled), Ogbu 1 oil well, and Alo 1 oil well (straddled). Amesi 1, 2, 3,4 oil wells, Enyie 1, 2, 3, 4 oil wells.

“In addition, I further submit that Anambra State has officially started receiving its share of 13% mineral derivation revenue since July 2022 till date Kindly note that the 13 percent derivation fund comes from the Federation revenue to oil – producing communities through the state governments as enshrined in Section 162, subsection 2 of 1999 Constitution as amended. The said Section 162(2) 1999 Constitution, as amended, provides:

“The president, upon the receipt of advice from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, shall table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account, and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of states, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain, as well as population density provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen percent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources (underlining mine for emphasis).

“This bill seeks to amend 2.Section 2(1)(b) of the Principal Act is amended by: a) inserting the following as new subparagraph (ai): “(iii) Anambra State”, and (b) re-numbering the existing subparagraphs (iii)–(ix) as subparagraph (iv)-(x). 3. Section 4 of the Principal Act is amended by: (a) inserting the following as new paragraph (c):”(c) Anambra State,”  and b) re-numbering the existing paragraphs (c)–(i) as paragraphs (d)-(1) Amendment of Section 2; Amendment of Section 4. “4. Section 30 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting the word” Anambra” immediately after the word “Akwa Ibom.” Amendment of Section 30.

“Furthermore, since Anambra State has been receiving 13% derivation fund since 2022, the approval of National Assembly is humbly solicited to formally accord the status of oil producing state to Anambra to enable it officially join the league of oil producing States in Nigeria Mr. President, Distinguished colleagues, it is a fact widely acknowledged that derivation is a financial incentive disbursed to oil producing communities as a way to encourage them to create a more enabling environment for peaceful production of crude oil and gas and to cushion the effects of the destructions resulting from oil and gas exploration as well as to recompense oil producing communities for divesting them of their proprietary right.

“Presently oil and gas exploration activities are all over communities in Anambra State where oil deposits are found in large quantity this includes but not limited to, Orient Petroleum, which has capacity to produce about 55,000 barrels per day, IBETO (First Modular Systems Gas Limited FMSGL) gas processing plant in Omasi and Umueje communities of Ayamelum LGA Anambra State!.”

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