By Kingsley Okoye
Abuja – The Senate on Wednesday at plenary 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 8th 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 per cent of the total monthly statutory allocation due to the member states of the commission shall be from the federation account.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra) 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 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, Sen. Aishatu Dahiru (APC Adamawa), 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 thereby 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 40 per cent drop 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 was made a conventional and multi-disciplinary institution.
Also, the Sponsor of the bill seeking to establish the Federal Polytechnic, Aba, Sen. Theordore Orji (PDP, Abia), said the Abia State Polytechnic was established in 1992 and presently had 12,000 students.
Orji explained that upgrading the institution into a Federal Polytechnic would bring about technological advancement and manpower to service the nation.
President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, referred them to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further legislative work.
Meanwhile, a total of 11 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 Sen.Istifanus Gyang; Criminal Code CAP C38 LFN 2004 (Amendment) bill, 2019, by Sen. Betty Apiafi; Federal College of Forestry Technology and Research, Akamkpa bill, 2019, by Sen. Gershom Bassey.
Other bills include: Public Procurement Act 2007 (Amendment) bill, 2019, by Sen. Uche Ekwunife, and Public Procurement Act 2007 (Amendment) bill, 2019, by Sen.Abdullahi Sankara; National Land Drainage bill, 2019, by Sen. Mohammed Musa
Others are; Electronic Transactions bill, 2019, by Sen. Ibikunle Amosun; Federal College of Education Marama, Borno State (Est.) bill, 2019, by Sen. Ali Ndume; Federal University of Agriculture and Technology Oke-Ogun, Oyo State (Est.) bill, 2019, by Sen.Abdulfatai Buhari;
The senate also considered the Federal College of Crop Science and Food Technology Lere, Kaduna State (Est.) bill, 2019, by Sen.Suleiman Kwari and South East Development Commission (Est.) bill, 2019, by Sen. Stella Oduah.