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NEDC Bill: Aisha Buhari, Reps back out of joint public hearing

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NEDC Bill: Aisha Buhari. The First Lady poses with the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, and other attendees after the public hearing on Monday, May 9.

The House of Representatives backed out of the Joint Public Hearing on the North East Development Commission (NEDC) Bill with Senate by its relevant committees.

Photo: Aisha Buhari, wife of the President, poses with the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, and other attendees after the public hearing on Monday, May 9.

The House, rather, held the hearing on Monday separately.

Even the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari along with some Governors’ wives , boycotted the hearing of the Senate and attended the lower chambers’ session on the Commission.

There was no official statement on why both chamber disagreed to hold the Public hearing separately.

However, sources from the Senate Committees on Special Duties and Establishment and Public Service confided in our correspondent.

They informed that as at Friday last week, preparations were concluded for the joint session only for the House to back out on Sunday night.

The Committee is saddled with the responsibility of organizing the public hearing in collaboration with their House counterparts.

According to them, “the last minute withdrawal of the House from the earlier planned joint session on the NEDC Bill, arose from the decision of the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara , being an indigene from the North East, to participate fully at the public hearing and giving it all desired attention”.

Meanwhile the Senate session was declared opened by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

The National Emergency Agency [NEMA] Director General spoke at the Senate session.

He explained that the Programme under which repentant Boko Haram militants are being rehabilitated tagged: “Safe Corridor Initiative”, was conceived purposely to provide a leeway for them to turn a new leaf.

“It is not correct that the Federal government does not have a plan for repentant sect members. 

“The Federal government has set up the safe corridor programme.

“I do know that over 800 sect members have been registered in it.

“They have exited the Boko Haram militants through the programme in line with the International best practice. 

“They are currently receiving various skills acquisitions programme, which is being handled by the military. 

“It’s being by the Chief of Defence Staff”, he said.

He posited that restoration of…

– formal education, 

– sustainable agriculture, 

– paternalism, 

– infrastructural reconstruction, 

– protection, and,

– remediation for  people of the North East

…should constitute the key focal areas of the North East Development Commission.

In his own submission, Engineer Kaka Kyari Gujbawu stressed the need for the engagement of  civilian JTF in government establishment. 

“With all the military myth, the help by the civilian JTF assisted in routing the sect. 

“So there is need for government integration,” he said. 

In his address at the session, the Senate President Bukola Saraki said for 7 years, the people of North East have suffered untold destruction…

… Destruction of both private and public properties worth billions of Naira, necessitating a Development Commission the bill is seeking for.

His words: “The North East has endured unprecedented pervasive brutality, satanic barbarism meted out against them.

“Christians and Muslims alike, young and old, men and women by the activities of Boko Haram.

“In an orgy of un-abating and indiscriminate attacks on the Nigerian state and its circularity, they employed everything destructive to threaten our national security and socio-economic stability.

“Maiming, bombing, attacking every institution that would help us remain a virile and united nation.

“What we have witnessed in the North East demands special attention from all well meaning Nigerians, not just from government. 

“We must all rise up and say never again. 

“We have seen families wiped out, children orphaned, incomes plunged below a tenth of what they were a decade ago”.

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