By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
The Senate on Wednesday re-introduced a Bill seeking to establish the South East Development Commission (SEDC).
The bill, which scaled first reading on the floor, was passed by the Eight Senate but failed to receive presidential assent.
Clause 15 (2a) of the bill which identifies source of funding for the commission, stipulates that the equivalent of 10% of the total monthly statutory allocation due to the member states of the commission shall be from the federation account.
The bill sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra North) also seeks the establishment of a governing board for the commission which shall include one person for the other geopolitical zones in the country.
The Senate also on Wednesday considered two bills seeking to establish the Modibo Adama University, Yola, and Federal Polytechnic Aba, respectively.
Sponsor of the bill to establish the Modibo Adama University, Senator Aishatu Dahiru (Adamawa Central), said the university was established in 1981 as a Federal University of Technology.
According to the lawmaker, “the University’s inherent statutory limitation exposed it to a lot of disadvantages – making it impossible to meet the needs of its historic state.”
Dahiru lamented that the limitation adversely affected female students’ demography.
“According to statistics from the universities, there has been a forty percent drop rate in female enrolment in the University following the reversal to core technology programs.
“This has greatly undermined the Federal Government’s efforts in mainstreaming the girl-child education especially in the North East region,” Dahiru said.
She added that given the huge investment by the Federal Government in the University, citizens of the state would be at an advantage if the University is made a conventional and multi-disciplinary institution.
In a related development, the Sponsor of the bill seeking to establish the Federal Polytechnic Aba, Senator Theordore Orji (PDP, Abia Central), said the Abia State Polytechnic was established in 1992 and presently has 12,000 students.
According to him, upgrading the Institution into a Federal Polytechnic would bring about technological advancement and manpower to service the nation.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, sequel to consideration of both bills referred them to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further legislative work.
Meanwhile, a total of eleven bills scaled first reading on the floor during plenary on Wednesday.
They are: 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) bill, 2019, by Istifanus) Gyang; Criminal Code CAP C38 LFN 2004 (Amendment) bill, 2019, by Betty Apiafi; Federal College of Forestry Technology and Research, Akamkpa bill, 2019, by Gershom Bassey; Public Procurement Act 2007 (Amendment) bill, 2019, by Uche Ekwunife, and Public Procurement Act 2007 (Amendment) bill, 2019, by Abdullahi Sankara.