The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, considered and passed for second reading a bill to include Bauchi, Lagos, and Ogun states into the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), having attained the status of Oil Producing States with similar circumstances as those listed in the NNDC Act passed in 2000.
The bill which was sponsored by Senator Adeola Solomon (Lagos West) seeks to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission Act 2000.
Senator Adeola argued that since crude oil has been discovered in Alkaleri Local Government in Bauchi state, Badagary in Lagos, and Ipokia in Ogun, the affected states are entitled to the 13 percent derivation that is due to oil-producing states according to the provision of Section 162 Sub-Section 2 of the Nigeria Constitution.
He noted that the Bill makes provision for new states that have joined the league of oil-producing states in Nigeria and for states that might eventually discover oil in the future as opposed to the present position of the Act, which only covers oil-producing states within the Niger Delta region, adding that the same provisions of the law which accrue benefits to existing oil-producing states in Nigeria should be extended to new and future oil-producing states.
Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege however disagreed saying being an oil-producing state does not guarantee the state a spot in the Niger Delta Development Commission which is a regional development body.
He said a distinction should be drawn between the NDDC and Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) and as a result, Lagos, Ogun, and Bauchi states do not qualify to be in the NDDC as they are not in the Niger Delta region.
Senators George Sekibo and Matthew Uhroghide in their resistance to the amendment argued that the three states could share from the 13 percent derivation, as long as they produce oil, but adding them to the NDDC will make a mockery of the idea in creating it.
The Niger Delta region is made up of nine states- Cross River, Edo, Delta, Abia, Imo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, and Ondo states.
Despite resistance to the proposed amendment by some of the Senators, the bill was unanimously supported at the plenary on Wednesday.